Archive for June, 2014

June 21, 2014

Dealer Catalogues – S. Richards, Antique Dealer, Nottingham c.1900

As some of the older blog posts have highlighted, antique dealers have been producing catalogues of stock since the late 19th century  (see blog posts).  We have been gathering various examples as part of the research project;  amongst the most interesting are those produced by the dealer S. Richards in the late 19th and early 20th century. S. Richards traded in Nottingham in the period c.1890-1920 and his catalogues, published monthly, offer a fascinating insight into the taste, classifications, descriptions, and prices for antiques in the period. Richards seems to have produced these hand-drawn catalogues from the early 1890s up until the end of the First World War, posting them out to collectors. He sold a very wide range of antiques and ‘curios’ and the pages illustrate what remain as standard ‘antique’ collectable objects.

Here are a few examples of Richards’ catalogues – in this one, (below) dated August 1913, Richards has hand-drawn objects from his stock and provided descriptions and prices for his customers.  (top left in the catalogue) is a drawing ‘No.1’ of what Richards describes as ‘a pair of figures of a king and queen in flowing robes, finely carved in wood…..Early 17th century.’ they were priced at £12.10.0. Below those are ‘a pair of candlesticks, well modelled in Bronze….Good patina. Italian workmanship of the early 17th century’, and priced at £7.0.0. ‘No.5’ is an interesting carved wooden box, which Richards states is made by ‘Bayarre (?) of Nancy’, and priced at £10.0.0. He also illustrates some Battersea enamel candlesticks (£8.0.0.), a Battersea enamel box, ‘slightly repaired’ (£7.10.0.) and a carved and silver-mounted coconut shell £3.10.0.

S. Richards catalogue 1913

S. Richards catalogue 1913

Below is the title page from an earlier issue of August 1893, showing his shop in Friar Lane, Nottingham.

S. Richards catalogue, 1893; private collection.

S. Richards catalogue, 1893. Private Collection.

The catalogues appear to of a regular and similar format – small objects on the opening pages, followed by larger objects and furniture towards the end. There are some very interesting examples of the antique furniture – here is a page, again from a catalogue issued in 1913. The ‘Chest of Drawers’, (No.24), described as ‘walnut wood’ with ‘the top inlaid with pieces of ivory’ was priced at £18.10.0. – although I’m not sure it would  pass the current standards for authenticity!

S. Richards catalogue April/May 1913; private collection.

S. Richards catalogue April/May 1913. Private collection.

What is equally interesting (I think!) is that the other shop that Richards occupied in c.1900, located at 77 Houndgate, Nottingham, looks almost exactly the same as it did when he sketched it for his catalogues. Here’s Richards’ hand-drawn image from 1891. –

S. Richards catalogue 1891; private collection.

S. Richards catalogue 1891. Private collection.

And here’s my photograph of the shop in Houndgate (now the Castle Public House) in June 2014.

Houndgate, Nottingham, 2014

Houndgate, Nottingham 2014. Photograph MW.


June 15, 2014

Oral History Interviews – Peta Smyth and Kate Thurlow

The oral history interviews are gathering pace!…Emma Slocombe, curator at the National Trust, at Knole and a member of the Advisory Board for the Antique Dealers project very kindly helped out with an interview for the project last week.  Emma interviewed the dealers Peta Smyth and Kate Thurlow about their memories of the trade.  Both Peta and Kate started their antique dealing careers in Portobello Road (just like Kathleen Skin, one of our other interviewees!), before moving through various shops in Kensington Church Street, Kings Road and Pimlico, in London. Emma’s interview with Peta and Kate will be apart of the growing archive of dealer memories and will be available via the project website over the coming months.



June 15, 2014

Oral History Interviews – Robin Butler

Thank you to antique dealer Robin Butler – Butler’s Antiques – for generously being an interviewee for the Antique Dealer Project. Robin has been in the trade for over 50 years, having first started in the father’s antique business, G. Noel Butler, in Honiton, Devon in the late 1950s.  Here’s Robin, at his home in Braintree.

Robin Butler

Robin Butler

Robin, who is also a noted author of several books on antique wine accessories, and antique furniture, has some fascinating memories of the antique trade.  He told us about his father’s shop/house in Honiton, established in the 1930s – and which is still in the family, now run by Robin’s brother Roderick, at Marwood House Robin also outlined how he became a specialist dealer in wine antiques, following a very successful exhibition he staged at his shop at 8 and a half High Street Honiton in the 1980s; and how he became the (temporary) owner of a spectacular giltwood sofa, formerly the property of William Beckford from Fonthill Splendens

We hope to put some extracts from the oral history interviews on the project website over the next few weeks, so keep you eye on the project!


Home Subjects

a working group dedicated to the display of art in the private interior, c. 1715-1914

The Period Room: Museum, Material, Experience

An International Conference hosted by The Bowes Museum and The University of Leeds

H. Blairman & Sons Ltd

A research project investigating the history of the antiques trade in Britain in the 19th & 20th centuries

Museum Studies Now?

'Museum Studies Now?' is an event which aims to discuss and debate museum and heritage studies education provision.

The Burlington Magazine Index Blog

art writing * art works * art market

East India Company at Home, 1757-1857

A research project investigating the history of the antiques trade in Britain in the 19th & 20th centuries