AN IMPORTANT AND RARE IMPERIAL QUALITY CHINESE BEIJING ENAMEL WINE EWER AND COVER Hu, Qianlong four-character mark and of the period Of rectangular outline and tapering form with squared handle and spout, raised on scroll-ended feet, finely painted in colours with peonies and foliage, the shoulder with scrolling foliage and further flowers, the cover with a raised finial to the centre of painted flower petals, all against a bright lemon yellow ground, the exposed metal edges finished in gilt, 8.5cm high. Provenance: UK private collection in excess of fifty years. Believed acquired by the owner's grandfather while stationed in the Far East during the second World War, thence by descent. Footnote: An identical wine ewer can be found in the collection of the National Palace Museum in Beijing, inscribed with a Kangxi reign mark. The present lot compares very favourably to another example sold by Sotheby's Hong Kong, 8 April 2010, lot 1804. The art of enamelling on copper was still relatively new to China when this piece was produced, having been brought over from Europe during the late 17th to early 18th Century. Gifts from visiting dignitaries and missionaries to the emperor Kangxi included enamels from Europe, such as those made at Limoges, which greatly impressed. So much so that Kangxi introduced the art to the palace workshops in circa 1700-1715. Clearly the art was mastered swiftly, as evidenced by this wine ewer and its twin in the National Palace Museum. Condition: Small sliver of enamel has flaked from the underside of the cover Very small flat enamel chip near the top corner on one side. Faint surface cracklure visible against the light - not disfiguring and barely visible. wear to corner edges of gilding on copper. Examined under UV light not obvious repairs or defects detected. Weight 362g.