Posts tagged ‘Antique Glass’

April 28, 2018

New Oral History Interview – David Fileman of Fileman Antiques

Thanks to Chris Coles, our Project Lead Volunteer, we have a new addition to our growing corpus of Oral History Interviews – we are now at number 38!  Our latest addition is an absolutely fascinating interview with David Fileman, a 3rd generation dealer of the specialist antique glass dealers Fileman Antiques, Steyning in Sussex.  We really appreciate Chris and David taking the time to record this interview and of course we are so grateful to the BADA for their invaluable support in enabling us to continue with the oral history research theme in the Antique Dealer research project.

The business of Fileman was established in Brighton in the late 19th century by Morris Fileman, an electrical engineer and sometime pawnbroker – Morris is perhaps most famous for work to electrify Brighton Pier in the early 20th century.  The business was continued by David’s father John Fileman (d.1962) after he returned from War service in World War I; John developed the business into one of the leading antique glass specialists in the UK, supplying well-known antique glass dealers such as Arthur Churchill, Cecil Davis and W.G.T. (Tommy)Burne.

John Fileman Antiques, Brighton, antique fair stand, c.1960s. Photograph copyright Fileman Antiques.

Our interview with David again illustrates the complex over-lapping practices in the history of the British Antique Trade, illustrated here in a business that started in electrical engineering, developing, through the evolving interests of members of the business, into a leading specialist antique dealer and one who supplied many of the world’s most important antique dealers, including Jeremy Ltd, Mallett, Partridge, and Hotspur, with antique glass, lighting and spectacular antique chandeliers – a tradition that continues today, as their recent stand at the LAPADA Fair (2016) demonstrates.

Fileman – stand at LAPADA Fair 2016. Photograph copyright Fileman Antiques.

We will update the Oral History pages on the Antique Dealer Research project website in the next few days – but thanks again to David and Chris for such a brilliant interview.


May 3, 2015

Oral Histories making progress – interview with Andrew Burne

The oral history research strand in the Antique Dealers research project continues to make progress – we still have a HUGE list of people to talk to though!

In January, Chris Coles, one of our most active and supportive volunteer researchers, undertook an oral history interview recording with Andrew Burne, of the antique glass specialists W.G.T. Burne (Antique Glass) Limited. W.G.T. Burne are based in London, and were established by Andrew’s father in 1936.

Andrew Burne

Andrew Burne, of W.G.T. Burne (Antique Glass) Limited. Photo courtesy of Andrew Burne.

In a wide-ranging interview, Andrew told us about the early history of W.G.T. Burne – his father initially worked for the well-known specialist glass dealer, and author, Arthur Churchill, before setting up on his own in 1936. Andrew also shared his memories of other specialist glass dealers, including Delomosne and Maureen Thompson. There were also fascinating stories about buying trips taken with his father, and the early morning starts to buy in the antique markets at Bermondsey and Portobello in London….as well as an occasion when the actor and singer Dean Martin came into the shop. W.G.T. Burne sold many things to major collectors and museums, and also sold chandeliers to The White House, and Buckingham Palace.

Amongst the ‘good finds’ that Andrew remembered was one of a set of early 18th century glass chandeliers, originally from Lincoln Assembly Rooms, which were bought from an auction at Christie’s South Kensington – the chandelier is now in the collections of Saint Louis Art Museum, in the USA. In the interview, Andrew recalled that the chandelier was sold by W.G.T. Burne to Hotspur, but it seems that the eventual dealer who sold the object to Saint Louis Art Museum (in 1993) was H. Blairman & Sons (see provenance information on the chandelier on the Saint Louis Art Museum Collections online).  Here’s a photograph of the chandelier from the museum website – and it’s a spectacular thing!

lincoln assembly room chandelier

Glass Chandelier, c.1740, from Lincoln Assembly Rooms. Saint Louis Art Museum. Funds given by Mr and Mrs Joseph Pulitzer and museum purchase, 1993. Image from Saint Louis Art Museum website.

An edited version of the oral history interview with Andrew (and all of the oral history interviews) will be available soon via the Antique Dealer project website.


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