Twelve rare Chinese paintings which were once housed in the north-east are set to go under the hammer with a £50,000 price tag.
The historical artwork was created for Qianlong, who was considered to be the last great emperor of China, and was later owned by the Chalmers family from Monkshill, in Fyvie.
The items are all from The Illustrated Regulations for Ceremonial Paraphernalia of the Present Dynasty, crafted by an anonymous court painter between 1750-59 for Qianlong’s court.
Qianlong, who ruled from 1735-96 during the Qing dynasty, died aged 87 and was one of the longest-living rulers in the world at the time.
Captain William Gordon Chalmers acquired the paintings in 1860, when he was serving in the Second Opium War at the Taku Forts near Tianjin, and in Beijing.
He died in 1868 and a cenotaph bearing his name and other members of the Chalmers family, including his father Charles who was an advocate in Aberdeen, can be found in St Peter’s Church Cemetery in Fyvie. Notification of his death was posted in the Montrose Standard on October 16 1868.
The paintings are illustrated on silk with ink, colour and gilt, with each one bearing an inscription from the regulations.
They include a design for a state sacrificial vessel, a formal outfit for a court official and 10 images of parasols which would have been carried in formal processions by different ranks of concubines.
Freya Yuan-Richards, specialist in Chinese Paintings, said: “The original album had over 1,300 pages in it, but the whereabouts of most of it is unknown.
“There are examples in the Victoria and Albert Museum, the British Library, the National Museum of Scotland and other museums.
“It is likely that others exist in private collections, but pages rarely make it on to the open market.
“To have ten pages from this album come on to the market at one time presents a unique opportunity for collectors to try and acquire something so closely linked to the Qianlong Emperor, who is so important as far as Chinese art heritage is concerned.
“The album shows the emperor’s meticulous eye for ritual and ceremony, with the calligraphy by each object explaining not only how the item was to be used, but also detailed instructions as to how it could be reproduced to the highest standard.”
The collection, which was acquired by the father of the current owner directly from Captain Chalmers’ family around 1950, is thought to have been housed at one time in Beijing’s Old Summer Palace.
It will go on sale at the Woolley & Wallis Salerooms in Salisbury on November 12.
Freya added: “We have already had a good deal of interest in these paintings and we anticipate strong bidding when they come under the hammer on November 12.
“I’m excited to see how they will perform on the day.”
Registration for online or telephone bidding closes at noon on Monday.