Important Works from the Collection of Albert Y.P. Lee and Sara K.S. Lee

By: Amelia Zhu

Important Archaic Bronzes and Chinese Jades from the Collection of Albert Y.P. Lee and Sara K.S. Lee (Lots 42 to 88) 



Li Hongzhang in 1896 图一 李鸿章

Albert Y.P. Lee (1930-2021) was the son of Li Yingshuan (1911-1972), one of the finest archaic Chinese bronze collectors of the 20th century. Li Yingshuan was born in Shanghai into a wealthy and well-respected family, and was the grandnephew of the famous late Qing dynasty statesman, general, and diplomat Li Hongzhang (1823-1901). He collected actively from the 1930s until the 1960s, and amassed a collection of around two hundred archaic Chinese bronzes. The collection was eventually donated to the Shanghai Museum in 1979, which makes up a large portion of the present-day permanent collection.


Albert Y.P. Lee grew up learning about archaic Chinese objects with his father. In collaboration with the Shanghai Museum in 1996, Albert co-published the book “Important Inscribed Ancient Chinese Bronze Vessels from the Li Yingshuan Collection in the Shanghai Museum”. Following his father’s work ethic, Albert continued to collect archaic Chinese objects, which mainly consisted of bronze vessels and jade carvings. He would meticulously catalogue each piece in his collection, which would often consist of creating rubbings of inscriptions, interpreting Old Chinese text, and analysing recorded Chinese history.


Y.P. Lee, Important Inscribed Ancient Chinese Bronze Vessels from the Li Yingshuan Collection in the Shanghai Museum, Shanghai, 1996, Front and Back Cover Pages

图二 李尔白(Y.P. Lee)上海博物馆<李荫轩所藏中国青铜器>上海,1996年








李尔白从小跟随父亲李荫轩的脚步, 耳濡目染中对金石学产生了巨大浓厚的兴趣。父子二人常出入于上海古董收藏界,不仅在实战中获取丰富的经验,更亲眼目睹了青铜器重要收藏的流散。经过数十年悉心钻研,李尔白父子秉烛钻研、​​共同探索、如数家珍,并致力于研究青铜器上深奥难懂的铭文,弥补历史的空白,为后代保存文物。这份热忱与情怀一直伴随李尔白持续至李荫轩先生过世后多年。1996年,李尔白与上海博物馆共同合作出版了<李荫轩所藏中国青铜器>一书 (图二)。书中不仅囊括李荫轩先生的青铜器珍藏,列举一系列上海博物馆典藏重要青铜器,以及李尔白年轻时制作铭文拓本。更包含李尔白先生个人青铜器收藏,其中一部分将于本场沃丁顿亚洲艺术拍卖‘李尔白及骆桂生伉俪珍藏重要青铜器及玉器’中为您呈现。每一件珍器都配有李尔白先生的手抄笔记、部分更包含临摹素描和金文拓片。


Albert Y.P. Lee and Sara K.S. Lee
图三 李尔白及骆桂生伉俪

Together with his wife, Sara K.S. Lee, the couple collected archaic bronzes from galleries in Hong Kong and auction houses in London and New York City. Throughout the early 1970s into the 1990s, they owned and operated their store, “Far East Gallery,” in Toronto’s prominent Yorkville neighbourhood.


The Lee family’s keen interest in ancient history was directly reflected in the objects that they collected, and was a testament to their lifelong pursuit towards understanding China’s ancient past.








Advertisement for the Far East Gallery, Yorkville, Toronto
图四 李尔白先生1970年至1990年间于多伦多市中心约克维尔所运营的’远东艺廊’


About the auction:

Held online from December 2–7, 2023, our final Asian Art auction of the year features selections of archaic Chinese bronzes from the Estate of Albert Y.P. Lee, fine Neolithic to Qing jade carvings sourced from North American estates, and a collection of late Qing and Republican period porcelains acquired in Shanghai prior to 1949. Other highlights include an imperial Ming dynasty kesi ‘dragon’ altar cloth, a Wanli mark and period porcelain box, Walasse Ting ‘Women With Fans’ painting, huanghuali and zitan scholar objects, Chinese and Himalayan gilt bronzes, and fine Japanese netsuke, satsuma, and cloisonné enamel wares.

We invite you to browse the full gallery.

Please contact us for more information.

The auction will be on view at our Toronto location, 275 King Street West, Second Floor:

 Sunday, December 03 from 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm
 Monday, December 04 from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
 Tuesday, December 05 from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm

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