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THE LORD BLACKFORD COLLECTION OF CHINESE WORKS OF ART
Christie's is delighted to offer Chinese works of art from the collection of the 3rd Baron Blackford. Lord Blackford was born Keith Alexander Henry Mason in 1923, the second son of Lieutenant Colonel Glyn Keith Murray Mason, 2nd Baron Blackford, CBE, DSO, and Grace Ellinor (neé Keen). He was educated at Eton college, and served as a member of the Royal Air Force in North Africa and North-western Europe during the Second World War, achieving the rank of Wing Commander and being awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in 1943. (This medal is awarded for 'an act or acts of valour, courage or devotion to duty whilst flying in active operations against the enemy'.)
In 1947 Keith Mason entered the Middle Temple as a barrister. His grandfather, the 1st Baron Blackford, had also been a barrister. In 1957 Wing Commander Mason married Sarah Worthington-Evans. The couple had one son, William Keith, in 1962, but the marriage was dissolved in 1971. He enjoyed country life and was a keen shot, but his working life was in the City, where he was Chairman of City of London Brewery and Investment Trust, Ltd., as well as serving as chairman or director of several other investment companies.
Although he was the second son, his brother William Murray Mason (b. 1921) had been killed in action in 1942 during the Second World War, and so Wing Commander Mason inherited the title on his father's death on the last day of December 1972, becoming the 3rd Baron Blackford. Sadly, he himself died less than five years later in April 1977, at only fifty-four years of age. He was succeeded by his son William.
The source of Lord Blackford's interest in Chinese art is not recorded, but his collection included fine examples of both carved jade and cloisonné enamel. The outstanding highlight of the collection is a magnificent carved spinach green jade brush pot with a particularly well composed design of Chinese and foreign tribute bearers carrying precious and auspicious gifts for the emperor.