Posts tagged ‘Antiques Trade Gazette’

June 27, 2015

Publicity for the Project

We’ve had some great publicity for the project in the last week or so, following the launch of the project interactive website on 15th June – thanks again to Gareth and the Press Team at University of Leeds, and Peter and the Press Team at the University of Southampton, and to Ivan Macquisten at Antiques Trade Gazette, and to Christopher Wilk at the V&A, Mark Dodgson at BADA, and Chris Jussel…..

Here are some of the avenues through which the project was disseminated – (as Director of Impact in our School at the University of Leeds it’s always good practice to capture who is saying what about our research!)….and so, in no particular order…

We made FRONT PAGE of the University of Leeds on 15th June:

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We made FRONT PAGE of the University of Southampton website on 25th June:

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We made PAGE 3 of the Antiques Trade Gazette on 16th June:

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We made FRONT PAGE of the AHRC website on 15th June:

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We made PAGE 3 of the Yorkshire Post on 16th June:

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We made FRONT PAGE of the School of Fine Art, History of Art & Cultural Studies at University of Leeds on 20th June:

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We made the BLOG PAGE of Patrick Sandberg Antiques website on 16th June:

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We made the BLOG PAGE of Pieces of Time website on 16th June:

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We were also mentioned on BBC Radio Leeds on 20th June, by auctioneer Gary Don in an interview on the Nick Ahad Show – ‘Leeds is at the centre of the antiques trade again’, as they said…

As well as various Tweets and ReTweets into the ether!…

Thank you all for raising awareness of the project!


June 15, 2015

Project Interactive Website Launched

The project Interactive Website has finally been officially launched!

On Monday 15th June, with a major publicity push from the University of Leeds and the University of Southampton, the two collaborating universities involved in the Antique Dealers project, and with a forthcoming announcement in the Antiques Trade Gazette – we’ve made the interactive website available to the wider public. You can read the University of Leeds Press Release here – Mapping%20the%20history%20of%20antiques%20dealers%20FINAL Thanks to Gareth Dant, Press Officer at University of Leeds for composing the Press Release.

And the University of Southampton Press Release here –Mapping%20the%FINAL SOTON

The Interactive website is one of the 3 main outputs of the AHRC funded Antique Dealers research project – the other outputs will be an edited book (edited by Westgarth, Quince and Jamieson), and the end of project Conference, (and for which we thank again the support from Leeds Museums & Galleries), which will take place next Spring at Temple Newsam House, Leeds (keep your eye on the blog for more details on the conference).

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Screen Shot of the Interactive Website. Copyright, University of Leeds 2015.

The website has been long in development and thanks to Mark Wales (‘Sparky’) of Small Hadron Collider, who has been working on the software programming for the site for the past 18 months, we now have an amazing research database, and research resource, for future investigations into the history of the Antique Trade in Britain, in the 20th century.

Using the search engine embedded within the site, or clicking on the DOTS on the map, you can find information on Antique Dealers trading in the 20th century. Below is a screen grab for a dealer trading in Southampton (see little red dot on the map) – Thomas Rohan, who was trading at 105 High Street, Southampton in the period c.1903-1918.slide700-3

The interactive website is still in development, and we’ve launched it as BETA version (i.e. we are testing it for feedback and suggestions on functionality and ease of use etc). At present, at least, there’s not that much data in the site…only c.2,100 entries…and we reckon there should be, eventually, about 100,000 entries in the site.  But we hope that the site will give people a sense of the amazing possibilities that emerge when one thinks about what it COULD do.

We eventually hope that each Dealership will  have a mini-biography, such as that in the Rohan entry already in the site – see below:



The site uses GPS (Google Maps) technology to track the changing locations of Antique Dealers, based in Britain, over the period 1900-2000 – but it is more, much more, than just a geographical mapping site.  We have built a temporal-spacial tracking system in the site that will trace the genealogy of not just Antique Dealers, but also the objects that they sold, and which, at the same time, establishes a whole series of spacial-temporal networks and relationships between, people, things, and ideas – this, we think, is the uniqueness of the website resource!…

We’ve had fantastic support from various people and organisations as we have developed the project and the interactive website; here are just a few examples of messages of support:

Project Advisory Board member, Christopher Wilk, Keeper of Furniture, Textiles and Fashion at The Victoria & Albert Museum, said “This is an important and innovative project which points the way towards a serious consideration of modern antique dealing. The methodology of the project is innovative, not least in its mixture of oral history, archival research and cultural geography.”

And Chris Jussel, an interviewee of the Oral History part of the Antique Dealer project (see earlier posts) and formerly of the major international antique dealers, Verney & Jussel, and well-known as a former Presenter for the US version of the Antiques Roadshow, said: “Throughout most of the 20th century the British Antiques Trade was the driving force in presenting what were originally termed ‘old things’ to the public. Collectively the appreciation for, the collection of, the scholarship and knowledge of antiques largely emanated from the trade. That was where the expertise resided. No major private or museum collection of antiques was formed without the trade. This long overdue academic study is a testament to that era.”

And finally, Mark Dodgson, Secretary General of The British Antique Dealers’ Association, said: “The concept of an interactive website charting the historical locations of antiques shops and the movement of beautiful objects from collectors to dealers and into museum collections should prove fascinating for anyone interested in the history of the decorative arts.
“The UK has always been one of the world’s most significant locations for the trade in antiques, whether English furniture or Chinese ceramics. It is therefore fitting that a British university should have undertaken a study into this important aspect of our national life.
“I know that antiques dealers are often keen to check the historical ownership of important items they sell – referred to in the trade as the “provenance” – to back up their own judgements about the age and origin of pieces. The new website will provide them with an excellent tool for checking where and when dealers were trading in the past, so adding to the information they can provide to antique collectors about their purchases.”

We hope that you will enjoy using the Interactive Website – (click HERE to go to the site)

Do send us feedback on what you think about the site, and any teething problems.



February 15, 2015

More on the changing landscape of the antique trade

More news on the changing landscape of the antique trade (see blog posts on ‘Bullard’ October 2014, and the changing face of Mount Street in London, October 2014, as well as a post on the ‘Changing Landscape’ in November 2013). Yet another well-known, and long established dealership, has withdrawn from the high street. Arthur Brett & Sons, Norwich, who were established in 1860, are finally closing their shop at 42 Giles Street, Norwich.  James Brett, the great-grandson of Jonathan Brett, the founder of the firm, is the third generation of the family business, and is finally giving up the shop – although James is not actually retiring.  He will continue to trade, but not from retail premises – this, as readers of this blog will know, rehearses a pattern of changing practices in the antique trade that began in the opening decade of the 21st century.

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The Brett family of antique dealers. Copyright Brett family & Sworders Auctioneers, courtesy of Sworders.

This picture (above) of the Brett family is from the forthcoming auction sale of the contents on 42 Giles Street, undertaken by Sworders at their Standsted auction room on Tuesday 17th February 2015 – (and thanks to Diane Baynes for very kindly emailing a PDF of the introductory pages to the auction catalogue!) There is also an interesting report on the forthcoming auction and the history of the Brett family of dealers, with some comments from James Brett, by Anna Brady in the ‘Dealers’ Diary’ pages in the Antique Trade Gazette this week – see ATG.

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Sworders auction catalogue of the Brett Collection, 17th Feb 2015. Copyright Sworders. Courtesy of Sworders.

Sworders sold the contents of the workshops of Brett & sons in 2010, and this final ‘clearing out’ of the showrooms is symptomatic of the changes to the practices of certain parts of the trade; the ‘End of an Era’?…maybe, but ‘change’ has, as this research project is discovering, always been part of the history of the antique trade.


May 3, 2014

Volunteer Researcher – Chris Coles

Our response to ‘Get Involved’ in the Antique Dealer Project has it’s latest enthusiastic responder!…Chris Coles, of the Department of Prints and Drawings at the British Museum has pledged his help (and…that of his family…!)…Thanks Chris and Family for all your help so far. Only days in and already we have several Excel Spreadsheets (for Essex Trade Directories from the early 1920s) submitted for uploading to the developing interactive website…Brilliant Work!…And Chris is also helping out with Blogging…you can read his first post, on the infamous Antique Dealer Wilfred Bull, (prior post, below).

Chris send us an ‘representation’ of him (and his family) – the image, Chris tells us, represents his, and his families collecting interests….just as well…an empty decanter could indicate other ‘interests’!…


Chris Coles..and Family…(collecting interests of, that is!)

Chris also composed a short biography for the project website(s)….

Hello, my name is Chris Coles. I work at the British Museum but I live for antiques! I started with cufflinks and stickpins and those are still the mainstays of my collection but I am also passionately interested in 18th century English furniture, Chelsea and Worcester porcelains, early English carpets and needlework, glass and decorative accessories (particularly those made from Blue John).  As well as the pieces themselves I’ve always been fascinated by dealer ephemera and have stacks of old Connoisseur magazines, Grosvenor House Fair catalogues and dealer brochures. When I read about this project in the ATG I was extremely keen to get involved as it seemed like a perfect way to combine my interests and my skills and hopefully play a small part in something that will have a lasting positive impact on the trade and its reputation.  I’ve roped my parents in to help with the project too and together we’re making our way through Kelly’s trade directories. I’d encourage anyone with even a passing interest in the trade to get involved in the project – it’s extremely satisfying watching your part of the data come together.


………Many thanks Chris for all your excellent help so far!

If anyone else would like to come forward as a volunteer researcher please do email us:


March 27, 2014

Portobello Road

We were very interested to read the letter from Kathleen Skin (aged 93)! published in the letters column of the Antiques Trade Gazette this week. See ATG 22nd March 2014. Kathleen briefly outlined her memories of her time as a dealer trading in the famous Portobello Road during WWII, with some absolutely fascinating reflections – we’re hoping to interview Kathleen as part of the oral history parts of the Antique Trade research project.

And thanks to Editor of the ATG, Ivan Macquisten for sending us the PDF of the letters page, and for writing to Kathleen on our behalf to try to set up a meeting (Thanks Ivan!)

here’s the PDF of the letter – Kathleen Skin letter ATG

As part of the project we will be investigating the history of Portobello Road Antiques markets in more detail, so keep your eye on the developments.




November 24, 2013

Project makes front page news in Antiques Trade Gazette

We’ve made front page news in the Antiques Trade Gazette; we’ve had loads of responses to the project, so thank you to Mark and Ivan at the ATG!


You can read the full story on the ATG website:

November 6, 2013

Changing Landscape of the Trade

The Antique Trade is certainly changing – the Thames Valley Antique Dealers’ Association (TVADA) is to disband by the end of this year – so the Antiques Trade Gazette reports, see:

More reason for the history of the antique trade to be captured and archived!

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