Chinese emperor’s robe is put up for auction for £200,000 by family of British army officer

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An 18th century Chinese emperor’s robe is being sold for £200,000 by the family of a British army officer who acquired it over 100 years ago.

Brigadier General Offley Shore picked up the blue and gold gown when he visited Beijing while he served in the Indian Army.

He went on to wear the flowing robe at a fancy dress ball at the British ambassador’s house in India in 1913.

An 18th century Chinese emperor's robe is being sold for £200,000 in London next month

An 18th century Chinese emperor's robe is being sold for £200,000 in London next month

An 18th century Chinese emperor’s robe is being sold for £200,000 in London next month

The magnificent garment has been passed down through generations of the Shore family over the last century and has now been put up for auction.

It has a pre-sale estimate of £150,000 but experts believe it could sell for a lot more as only one other robe like it has sold before.

The silk robe was made in the late 18th century for Emperor Qianlong to wear twice a year during the performance of ceremonies aimed invoking rain and a good harvest.

Brigadier General Offley Shore picked up the blue and gold gown when he visited Beijing while he served in the Indian Army in 1913

Brigadier General Offley Shore picked up the blue and gold gown when he visited Beijing while he served in the Indian Army in 1913

Brigadier General Offley Shore picked up the blue and gold gown when he visited Beijing while he served in the Indian Army in 1913

Brigadier General Offley Shore picked up the blue and gold gown when he visited Beijing while he served in the Indian Army in 1913

Brigadier General Offley Shore (left)  picked up the blue and gold gown (right) when he visited Beijing while he served in the Indian Army in 1913 

It would have been stored away and used by several other emperors after Qianlong.

The imperial robe is embroidered with nine dragons clutching flaming pearls of wisdom interspersed with chrysanthemum flowers.

Brig Gen Shore’s wife Caroline was American and wrote letters home to her family about the couple’s adventures in India.

In one letter, she wrote about the robe that is now for sale. She said: ‘Offley wore the beautiful Chinese coat of blue and gold and silver that we bought in Peking.’

The imperial robe is embroidered with nine dragons clutching flaming pearls of wisdom interspersed with chrysanthemum flowers (pictured)

The imperial robe is embroidered with nine dragons clutching flaming pearls of wisdom interspersed with chrysanthemum flowers (pictured)

The imperial robe is embroidered with nine dragons clutching flaming pearls of wisdom interspersed with chrysanthemum flowers (pictured)

The magnificent garment has been passed down through generations of the Shore family over the last century and has now been put up for auction

The magnificent garment has been passed down through generations of the Shore family over the last century and has now been put up for auction

The magnificent garment has been passed down through generations of the Shore family over the last century and has now been put up for auction

Dr Benedetta Mattino, a specialist in the Chinese art department at auctioneers Bonhams, said: ‘This robe is extremely rare. The only one that has sold before that is of a similar kind and period went for £190,000.

‘The Chinese art market is hesitating a little at the moment but there is always a strong market for high end pieces like this robe.

‘We have estimated it quite conservatively.

‘We believe the robe was tailored to be worn by the Qianlong emperor and would have been used over and over again.

It has a pre-sale estimate of £150,000 but experts believe it could sell for a lot more as only one other robe like it has sold before

It has a pre-sale estimate of £150,000 but experts believe it could sell for a lot more as only one other robe like it has sold before

It has a pre-sale estimate of £150,000 but experts believe it could sell for a lot more as only one other robe like it has sold before

‘Without a doubt it would have been used by later emperors.

‘We don’t know exactly where Offley Shore bought it but we know he wore it to a fancy dress party in India in 1913.

‘The robe has come from the family who have displayed it on a wall. Silk is very difficult to preserve and I think the family were worried about taking care of it properly.’

The robe, that is 56 inches long, will be sold in London on November 8.

The robe would have been stored away and used by several other emperors after Qianlong

The robe would have been stored away and used by several other emperors after Qianlong

The robe would have been stored away and used by several other emperors after Qianlong

The robe would have been stored away and used by several other emperors after Qianlong

The robe would have been stored away and used by several other emperors after Qianlong

Brigadier General Offley Shore went on to wear the flowing robe at a fancy dress ball at the British ambassador's house in India

Brigadier General Offley Shore went on to wear the flowing robe at a fancy dress ball at the British ambassador's house in India

Brigadier General Offley Shore went on to wear the flowing robe at a fancy dress ball at the British ambassador’s house in India



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