Posts tagged ‘Glasgow’

February 22, 2015

More on Connell & Sons, Glasgow – and BADA

We’ve discovered a bit more about James Connell & Sons (the ‘Art Dealers’) in Glasgow (see earlier blog post on Connell).  Thanks to Mark Dodgson, Secretary General, and Riley Grant, membership Secretary, at The British Antique Dealers’ Association (BADA) who very kindly emailed us a PDF copy of the full catalogue for the ‘Art Treasures Exhibition 1932’. The exhibition, ‘under the auspices of The British Antique Dealers’ Association’, was held at Christie’s auction rooms in King Street, London, October 12th to November 5th, 1932.

There are lots of fascinating things in the catalogue itself, not least the kind of stock that antique dealers sold in the 1930s – but there’s too much to outline here in a short blog post! However, amongst the exhibitors was our friend ‘James Connell & Sons’ – at this date trading at 26 Old Bond Street, London, and also at 75 Vincent Street, Glasgow.

As readers of this Blog will know, we regularly highlight the overlapping trading practices of the ‘Antique Trade’, and drew attention to the fact that James Connell & Sons, were, conventionally at least, classified as ‘Picture Dealers’ – and you’ll know that we disrupted the smoothness of such classificatory parameters in our earlier Blog post on an exhibition catalogue of ‘A Few Examples of Old Furniture of Fine Character and Quality’ that Connell & Sons staged at their Glasgow gallery in c.1915 (see earlier blog post).

In the ‘Art Treasures’ exhibition of 1932 Connell also exhibited objects…but again, not paintings, but ‘antiques’ – including ‘A George II stool c.1745’; See image here – sorry about the poor quality- connell

They also exhibited ‘A George II mahogany chest of drawers, c.1755’, and ‘A Balloon bracket clock, c.1790’ – and despite there being a small section at the exhibition devoted to pictures, Connell & Sons did not contribute to that section of the exhibition. So, it seems, on this evidence at least, that Connell & Sons continued to trade in antique furniture from at least c.1915, up to the 1930s, and whilst all the time classified at ‘art dealers’.

This is not to say of course that other ‘picture dealers’ did not also sell ‘antiques’, nor of course that ‘antique dealers’ did not sell pictures….but maybe it points towards a more complex network of overlapping practices that are not captured by the trading classifications of ‘art dealer’, ‘antique dealer’ and etc…and, as you know, part of the objective of the current research project is to explore these shades of grey (there’s an up to date allusion for you!) –  the umbra, penumbra and antumbra of the antique trade…



January 27, 2015

Art Dealers & Antique Dealers – James Connell & Sons, Glasgow

As followers of the Antique Dealers Project blog will already know, one of the problems we’ve encountered as the project has developed is where to draw the line around ‘antique dealers’ as a practice (or profession).  Earlier posts have pointed towards the overlaps between the antique trade and the second-hand trade – the shift between ‘antique’ and ‘second-hand’ is always a moveable feast!

One of the decisions we took early on in the development of the research questions for the project was that we were not going to focus on the ‘Fine Art’ trade – the history of the Picture Dealer is already a well mapped out research area, and we thought we would leave to other scholars – (many of which, I count as good friends and colleagues actually!)

Anyway, as we already knew, things are complicated! This was brought into sharper focus when I recently acquired a little catalogue of an exhibition held at James Connell & Sons, in Glasgow.

Connell cover

James Connell & Sons, Exhibition Catalogue. c.1910

Connell is well known amongst art historians as a ‘Fine Art’ dealer – one who emerged from the picture frame making trades in the middle decades of the 19th century – for more specific detail on Connell do take a look at the excellent research projects on the Art Trade (Dr Pamela Fletcher’s fab site at Bowdoin College) The London Gallery Project

Or the large research project ‘Mapping the Profession and Practice of Sculpture in Britain and Ireland 1851-1951

Connell in these projects is located in the boundaries of the picture trade – and I expect that is where they properly reside – however, as you’ll see by the title of the little exhibiton catalogue (above) Connell also, occasionally I imagine, sold ‘Antique Furniture’ (or ‘Old Furniture’ as their catalogue suggests) – which (for us, at least) further complicates the boundaries of the antique trade – not that they are ever defined so clearly anyway, we know that!

Anyway, I thought it would be interesting to show the Connell catalogue – it’s a small ‘souvenir’ (as they state) of an undated exhibition, but certainly seems to date from c.1910.

connell frontis

Connell catalogue, c.1910

The introductory page states that Connell ‘have been fortunate in acquiring recently superb examples of Chippendale, Adam, Sheraton, and Hepplewhite furniture from well-known collections. Those beautiful specimens form a most interesting exhibition. which is presently being held at their galleries, 31 Renfield Street, Glasgow.’

Connell chest

‘Satinwood Commode’ from Connell catalogue, c.1910

There are perhaps a dozen individually photographed pieces of furniture, ranging from 16th/17th century oak, to late 18th century satinwood furniture – not sure that some of the pieces would pass the ‘authenticity test’ today, but that’s beside the point.  The real interest here, as far as the current research project in the ‘antique trade’ in concerned, is that catalogues such as Connell’s demonstrate the blurred boundaries of the history of the ‘art’ market.



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