VERY beautiful Chinese paintings and prints, at extremely modest prices, can be found at the Eastern Art Gallery, 40 Bloomsbury Way, London WC1. Owners Hugh and Colette Hawes began collecting Chinese paintings in the 1950s from Colett's Chinese Bookshop, opposite the British Museum; their first purchase, a river scene by Fu Baishi, cost pounds 60 and is now worth pounds 15,000 or so. Colett's expert Mary Shen ran the Hawes' gallery until her death two years ago and the couple use her contacts in mainland China to import good paintings by young artists.
They also sell marvellous woodblock prints and stone rubbings at Christmas-present prices. The prints are reproductions of brush paintings made by carving each colour in relief on a separate block; a single print may involve 20 different practitioners, and is almost indistinguishable from an original painting. The brightly coloured rubbings are made from plaster casts of stone carvings in temples or on graves, the inks dabbed on to the paper with a rag.