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Lot 93 (Asian Art - Live Online, 28th May 2020)

A pair of Chinese gouache paintings

LOTS 93 TO 107
The Collection of William Orr Leitch (1871-1948) and Katharine Leitch (1879-1952)

A pair of Chinese gouache paintings,

early 20th century, one painted with a young man and two ladies seated next to a table with a display of books and precious objects, in a garden by a lotus pond, the other with three figures greeting Zhong Kui and two demons in the clouds, both inscribed, ink and colour on silk,
45.5 x 20.5cm (2)

二十世纪初 佚名 人物故事图 设色绢本 立轴 一对

William Orr Leitch (1871-1948), left Scotland in 1897 to work for the Chinese Government Railways eventually becoming the Engineer-in-Chief and General Manager of the Peking to Mukden Railway Line. William married Katharine Macintyre (1879-1952), the daughter of prominent Presbyterian missionaries in Newchwang (Niuzhuang), close to the trade port of Yingkou, in 1906. Their three children were all born in Northern China and, along with the extended Macintyre family, they became an important part of the expatriate society and missionary community.

William Leitch's work took him all over Northern China where he succeeded in many challenges including, after protracted negotiations, passing the railway line through the Great Wall near Shanhaiguan. The family endured much unrest including the Boxer Rebellion of 1905, long periods under Japanese rule combined with the civil war between Chinese Communists and Nationalists and, in 1931, an explosion on the railway track at Mukden (Shenyang) which led to a full Japanese invasion of North-East China.

Over the years, as part of an affluent society, the family decorated their houses in Tientsin (Tianjin) and Shanhaiguan with Chinese works of art. They later returned to Edinburgh taking up residence in Gordon Terrace, furnishing the house with many treasured items sent home on the long sea voyage, including fifty large trunks of Chinese artifacts.

Katharine Leitch remained a philanthropist and, along with the family that remained in China, focused on improving the quality of life of neglected and abandoned Chinese children. Whilst some of the items here are from her private collection, it is thought smaller items were brought back to generate funds for the orphanages the family privately funded.

Sold for £580

Condition report

Creases throughout. Some old repairs. Stains to mountings.



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The auction details are as follows:

Auction: Asian Art - Live Online, 28th May 2020

The current pandemic does not seem to have affected the Asian Art market with prices and interest remaining strong. 

We are pleased to include in our forthcoming Asian Art sale an extraordinary kesi scroll, the magnificent embroidery depicting the celebration of the birthday of Queen Mother of the West.  We also include the wonderful embroidery collection of Mr and Mrs Leitch, who lived in China from the late 19th century to the 1930s and a fabulous collection of Yixing zisha teapots and Japanese woodblock prints in the sale. 

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