catherine hunt

Forming a collection

Standing at Quality Antique Fairs and talking to many people you hear and see so much, but when I am told, quite often,

“Oh I love this blue and white, but I don’t understand it and wouldn’t know how to begin to collect” I decided to try to explain and give people confidence to collect.

Forming any collection is based on ’love’, as all good collections are based on aesthetic qualities. No collection can be based on anything that you do not like, I am always telling people to follow their eye and their heart, if you do then your collection will grow along a passionate line and a shrewd one. This will then lead to a great collection and one that has also become a good investment. Porcelain is not a risky or fragile investment in any sense of the word but as in all areas of collecting beware a lack of knowledge and fakes. Buy from reputed dealers who deal only in Oriental Antiques.

Beginning a Collection

Some collectors become experts in their field before starting out on a collection, others do so while collecting, others allow themselves to be advised and some are combination of these. But at all times you should only buy what you know you like and not what you think you ‘ought’ to like or what you think ‘ought’ to be in your collection. When shown anything that could be a possible purchase only chose it if you really like it. Only this will allow your collection to reflect your taste and personality and adds real value to your collection.

Condition, Restoration and Quality

Until the 1990’s condition and age was always a prime consideration in buying a piece. Since the late 1990’s this has become skewed with the opening of the Far Eastern market which has caused the prices of Chinese porcelain to gallop into the stratosphere. Desirability, rarity, and quality have caused condition to take a back seat.

Restoration has two sides to it. Collectors like the view – ‘what you see is what you get’. If a piece has been glued back if broken but not hidden this is more desirable than damage that has been disguised by much over spraying and over painting. An exception to this is the preferred ‘museum quality restoration’ a small discreet area of repair which aids to the overall appearance i.e. to a spout or handle of an object but no over spray.


When you decide to collect give some thought to the areas where you want to start from. If you base it on a reign or dynasty you may find this restrictive at the start as it may become difficult to source enough pieces to make a collection grow as quickly as new collectors want. Often it is easier to have a cut off point, i.e. concentrate on quality pieces up to a certain reign or date.

To read the full article or to view Catherine Hunt Oriental Antiques collection visit their website here.