Your grandfather opened his first antiques shop over 60 years ago, so it’s certainly in your blood, but when did you first realise this was what you wanted to do and how did you get started?
After I’d exhausted any other ideas I had, I thought becoming an antiques dealer would be taking the easy and obvious route, so I looked elsewhere until I couldn’t ignore it anymore. Several months in the passenger seat of my father’s Volvo made me realise there was nothing easy or obvious about dealing in antiques, so that was fine.
When did you first realise that this wasn’t just a job, but a passion?
I really didn’t ever question it again, and it never felt like a job. It isn’t a job!
Do you think you’ve picked up some of your grandfather’s traits when it comes to dealing? What are some of your similarities and differences?
I think we both share a strong sense of direction and a passionate love for what we do, but his was a more academic approach where mine is more aesthetic.
How do you think the antiques trade has changed since those days?
Almost completely. His were the days of grand country house auctions and house calls, a time when there was somebody selling antiques from a house or a garage in every village in the country. To some extent this is still the case but it now exists online, though the quantity and quality of the pieces available has dropped. There is now an open scrap for anything good that turns up!
Does a particular item stand out as one that you really had to ’scrap for’, and did you get it in the end?
I once spent an entire afternoon in someone’s kitchen trying to persuade them to part with the most wonderful pair of 19th century globe lanterns I’ve ever seen. They’d bought them on eBay for £100 from a complete bastard who had promised me he would let the auction run to its conclusion, and then promptly took an early bid of £100. I tracked the buyer down and it took seven cups of tea and my finest chat to persuade him to part with them for more money than they were worth. A triumph!