Matthew Wise - Cubbit Antiques
Your profile picture on your website, depicts you as a well groomed, sophisticated gentleman. However your Instagram tells a different story, showing a love for boxing, beer and at caps. Which of these persona’s represents the real Matthew Wise?
Yes, I am well dressed and look like a gentleman on the website, but I am certainly no blue blood, and consider myself a bit of a diamond in the rough. I grew up on a council estate, which is probably not the background you’d expect of an antiques dealer. I have an amazing family with great principles and manners, which I feel has made me the man I am today. One that wants to work hard and strive to do better. Don’t get me wrong, I used to be a bit of a lad. I think the fun side of me still comes out in my personality. My other real love is martial arts and boxing. It’s in my blood, as one of my relatives was the famous bare knuckle boxer Tom Sayers. So I guess these two very different sides are what make up my persona.
Does your Tom Sayers blood ever cross over into your dealing? Anyone you’ve wanted to practice your right hook on?
Now I am pretty sure there is a time when someone in the trade gets on everyone’s nerves, and they probably do deserve a right hook, but it’s all business, so I never really take it personal. What does get to me is the private clients who have watched too many antiques programs on TV and think they can walk into your shop and pluck a price out of thin air that they’d like to pay for something. They need to realise how much work we put in to sourcing pieces and building our brands... those people have come close!
You’ve gone from being “a bit of a lad”, to owning an antiques business on Lillie Road, London. How did you get started?
When I turned 21 I decided to pack up and move to Tenerife, then Ibiza. I had the time of my life, the problem was, Ibiza is seasonal, and when I came home I was broke. I ended up landing a job with Chesneys, who are one of the biggest replace dealers in the UK. I had a very good boss and mentor, Tristan Rowe, who really pushed me to get to know about different periods. From there my love for architectural antiques started to grow. I tried some other jobs then sort of fell back into antiques, as my passion was there! I had some friends who were in the trade, they convinced me to invest in a couple of pieces, and I guess the story of Cubbit Antiques begins there!
I love that your Instagram is filled with pictures of your little boy, you are clearly a family man. Does your little guy know what Daddy does, and would you like him to follow in your footsteps, or will you encourage him to get a ‘real job’?
My boy has some idea of what I do. He enjoys coming to the shop and asks loads of questions on some of the pieces I bring home. If he wanted to follow into the trade, that would be down to him, but if he decided to go for a ‘real job’ I would be just as happy. I think today’s society is missing the old school gentleman, and we could do with more people being like that. I hope I can raise my son to be that man, whatever he decides to do!