Posts tagged ‘Oral History Interviews’

June 29, 2022

More Oral Histories go Live!

Our project to make all our Oral History interviews live on the project website continues to gather pace. We have now uploaded another 3 of our archive of interviews – thanks to Patrick Bannon, who is editing and creating visual files for the interviews. Our latest editions to the ‘live’ versions of the interviews are Peter Cheek (who traded as Peter Francis in London); David Fileman (from the famous antique glass specialists, Fileman Antiques), and Jerome Phillips (of the well-known antique dealers Phillips of Hitchin).

Peter Francis Cheek, in 2016. Photograph, Antique Dealers Research Project, University of Leeds.

Peter Cheek, very sadly passed away in 2017, and we again pass our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.

The newly edited versions of our Oral History interviews have been created as audio and image files, and we have managed to find relevant photographs of some of the objects and/or events that our interviewees mention in their discussions. So, you can both listen to, and sometimes see, objects or events that are highlighted in the interviews. We hope this will make the interviews a more engaging experience.

Screen Capture from David Fileman Oral History Interview page on Project Website.

You can listen/watch the latest interviews on the ‘Oral History’ pages of the Antique Dealer Research Project website – Click Here

With the help of Patrick Bannon, we aim to have all the remaining Oral History interviews edited and with photographs embedded in the coming months – so do keep your eye on the Blog and the Oral History pages on the project website.

Mark

May 30, 2022

Another of our Oral History Interviews goes ‘live’

We are very pleased to say that we are making steady progress with making our rich series of Oral History interviews publicly available. The very latest interview to be edited, formatted and uploaded to the Oral History pages on the project website was launched a few days ago – thanks to Patrick Bannon, who is editing and formatting the raw interviews and creating short films with embedded visual material from the archives.

Our interview with Gary Baxter, the grandson of Horace Baxter, founder, in 1927, of the well-known antique furniture dealers, H.C. Baxter & Sons, of the Fulham Road in London, is now available on the website – see antique dealer project Oral Histories

Gary Baxter, photographed in 2015. Photograph, Antique Dealers Research Project, University of Leeds.

In the interview, Gary tells us about the early history of H.C. Baxter & Sons – how his grandfather used to gather old furniture on a cart around Clapham in South London, from their first shop in Northcote Road, Clapham, to H. C. Baxter & Sons becoming one of the most important trade suppliers of antique furniture in Britain. Below is a photograph of Horace Baxter, taken in about 1950 we think (thank you to Gary Baxter for allowing us to us this photograph).

Horace Baxter, c.1950. Photograph courtesy of Gary Baxter.

Gary also tells us about his own involvement in H.C. Baxter & Sons in the interview – he joined the business in 1978, aged just 17 years of age – as well as many other aspects of the history of the antiques trade. You can also listen and watch some of the other oral history interviews we have edited and uploaded to the project website – Philip Astley-Jones (click here); Kathleen Skin (click here); Jerome Phillips (click here). We are currently working on editing, formatting and uploading all the remaining oral history interviews in the coming months.

Mark

March 16, 2022

Oral History Interviews – going Live!

Our Antique Dealer Research project Oral History Interviews are finally being fully rolled out into the project website. It’s been a long time coming but we are now starting to upload all of our 40 plus interviews into the Oral History pages – with Philip Astley-Jones and Kathleen Skin the first to join our existing oral history interview with Jerome Phillips (of Phillips of Hitchin). The interviews all need editing before they can be made public, which is both time-consuming and, crucially (given funding is always an issue in research projects!) costly. But, as part of the Year of the Dealer project we have managed to devote time and resources to ensuring that the rich series of oral histories that we have assembled as part of the antique dealer research project can now start to be made available to the public – and big thank you to Patrick Bannon (Patrick Bannon Photography) for all his hard work on editing and creating new visual files for the interviews. Patrick is creating video files for each of the audio interviews, with images of the interviewees and any contextual photographs, so that listeners to the audio files can feel more in the presence of the speaker, and we are embedding the files into the Oral History pages in the project website. Here’s how they look on the Antique Dealer Research Project website:

To actually listen to the interviews you need to go to the Oral History pages in the project website – here is a LINK for Philip Astley-Jones (who very sadly passed away in August 2021) ; and here is a LINK for Kathleen Skin.

We are creating new files for all the Oral History interviews over the coming months – with regular updates on the Oral History pages in the project website – we will have our interviews with Peter Cheek and Gary Baxter available soon, so do keep your eye of the Oral History pages.

In the meantime, I’d like to thank all our interviewees (past, present and future!) for so generously participating in the Antique Dealer Research Project Oral History theme.

Mark

August 19, 2019

New Oral History project, ‘LAPADA Voices’, with Melvin & Shiela Haughey

Our ‘Oral History’ interviews project is continuing to add promiment antique dealers to the growing oral history archives as part of the Antique Dealers research project – thanks to LAPADA, The Association of Art & Antiques Dealers, we have started a new strand of the Oral History interviews, called ‘LAPADA Voices’. These new interviews will be with past and present LAPADA members; and we hope to interview some ‘young blood’, as well as our usual theme of well established and senior members of the antiques trade in Britain.

We intend to undertake at least another 5 interviews as part of this initiative – and we’d like to thank Freya Simms, CEO of LAPADA, and the whole team at LAPADA for this very generous funding support for the new LAPADA Voices.

Our first in this new series is with long time LAPADA member Haughey Antiques, of Kirkby Stephen in Cumbria.

Melvin & Shiela Haughey of Haughey Antiques, Kirkby Stephen. Photograph, Antique Dealers Project, University of Leeds 2019.

Melvin & Shiela Haughey established their well-known antique business in 1969. Melvin initially began his career as antique dealer working for his father’s antique shop in the early 1960s, before taking over the business in 1969.  Melvin’s father, Michael J. Haughey, opened his antique and second-hand furniture business in Kirkby Stephen in 1947; the Haughley family had business operations in the town since 1919.

In this hugely engaging and informative interview, Melvin tells us that he initially wanted to be a jockey and racehorse trainer; he started working at the stables of Ryan Price in Sussex, the famous trainer of the Grand National winner Kilmore, which won the ‘National’ in 1962, before working in his father’s antique business.  In the interview, Melvin and Shiela, who married in 1971, reflect on the changing tastes for antique furniture and of Melvin’s regular buying trips to Scotland.  He used to call and buy from many high profile Scottish antique dealers such as Alexander’s in Barclay Street, Glasgow and from Bill Beaton in Perth.

Like many antique dealers in the 1970s, Haughey Antiques initially operated as a wholesaler of antiques, supplying dealers from the South of England. Kirkby Stephen was also on a regular route for many international antique dealers; Dutch dealers, for example, made regular buying trips once a week in the 1970s.  Melvin also recounts the extraordinary tale of how he bought a rare 18th century Irish mahogany sidetable, which he acquired in England and sold to an Irish buyer, only to discover that the pair to the table was already in that private collection back in Ireland.   Mevlin also tells us of his memories of many well-known antique dealers from across the UK.

Melvin and Shiela continue to trade in Kirkby Stephen, and this year (2019) celebrate 50 years in the business.

Our interview with Melvin and Shiela is now part of the rich series of antique dealer interviews at the Antique Dealer Research project archive at the University of Leeds.

Thank you again to LAPADA for all their help and support to the research project.

Mark

October 31, 2018

Latest Oral History Interview – Philip Andrade

Our latest oral history interview, thanks to the continued support from the British Antique Dealer’s Association for the BADA Voices theme in the research project took us all the way to Devon last week.

Our interview was with 3rd generation antique dealer Philip Andrade, a former BADA member before he retired in 2000. Philip’s grandfather, Henry de Costa Andrade, came from an illustrious line of art and antique dealers which began, it seems, with the well known London antique dealer Cyril de Costa Andrade (b.1883) who traded in Duke Street, St. James’s in London and counted Duveen as a customer – Cyril was Philip’s 2nd cousin once removed; James de Costa Andrade, Philip’s uncle, also ran a well-known antique shop in the fashionable King’s Road, in London during the 1950s and 1960s.

Philip’s grandfather, Henry de Costa Andrade ran an antique shop in Plymouth, Devon after arriving in Plymouth with his son, Reginald, in 1907; the family came from Clissiold Park in London. Reginald Andrade had joined his father’s business by the mid 1920s, before Philip took over the family business during the early 1960s.  Here’s Philip, at his home in Devon with his dog ‘Bailey’.

Philip Andrade, at home, with ‘Bailey’. Photograph Antique Dealers Research Project, University of Leeds, 2018.

In this very engaging oral history interview, Philip told us of his life as an antique dealer, of his father’s business, which traded as Reginald and Muriel Andrade at Boringdon Villas in Plympton, just outside of Plymouth in Devon.  Philip was joined in the business by his wife Margaret (they married in 1960), who was also, incidentally, the daughter of another Devon based antiques dealer, Arthur (Jack) West; both Philip and Margaret were junior directors of his father’s business, Reginald & Muriel Andrade Limited – the business later became a partnership. Philip started working for his father Reginald in 1955, driving his father around the trade and auctions within six weeks of leaving school, but also remembers serving customers in his father’s shop when he was aged 12 or 13 – so he has almost 70 years of experience of the antiques trade – that might be a record for our oral history interviewees!

As with all of our oral history interviews, our interview with Philip will be eventually be uploaded to the Antique Dealer Research project Oral History pages.

Mark

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.

Mark

February 28, 2018

New Oral History Interview – Jackie Mann

We conducted our 36th Oral History Interview a couple of weeks ago – thanks again to the British Antique Dealers Association (BADA) for their continued support in allowing us the ability to travel around the country to conduct these ‘BADA Voices’ oral history interviews. 

Our latest interview was with Jackie Mann, who formerly worked with the well-known antique dealer Maurice ‘Dick’ Turpin (1928-2005) – see previous blog post on the M. Turpin photograph archive, which arrived at the University a couple of months ago. We’ve yet to process the images for our interview with Jackie and will be adding the details of the interview to the Antique Dealers Project website next week, so keep you eye on antiquedealers.leeds.ac.uk  Jackie is now in her 80s and has a very considerable experience of the British antiques trade. As well as working with ‘Dick’ Turpin for many years at his premises in London at Queen’s Mews and at his shop in Bruton Street, Jackie began her career in the antiques trade with the antique dealer Harry Kenyon in Chester.  Jackie had some particularly vivid memories of working in the Kenyon family antique dealing business, which was initially begun by Harry’s father in Chester and was continued by his grandson, Gerald Kenyon, with an antique shop in Dublin.

Our interview with Jackie is a lively and fascinating series of reflections on over 50 years in the antique trade; and we’d thank to especially thank Jackie for taking the time to be one of our interviewees; and we’d also like to say thank you to Chris Jussel for introducing us to Jackie!

Mark

October 22, 2017

New Oral History Interview – John G. Morris

Our ‘Voices from the Trade’ oral history interviews continue to make progress, thanks again to the BADA for their generous support towards the Oral History project. 

Our most recent interview was with John G. Morris (and his wife Lorraine).  John established his own business, John G. Morris Limited, in Petworth, West Sussex, in March 1963, and will be very well known to many readers of the antique dealers blog. John was a specialist in antique English Furniture and his shop in Petworth was a regular feature in the country antique trade for more than 35 years, until his eventual retirement in 1996.

John G. Morris, photographed for the Voices from the Trade research theme, as part of the Antique Dealers Research project. Photograph copyright Antique Dealers Project, University of Leeds, 2017.

John is now 87 years of age, and as well as some fascinating reflections on his own antiques business, he also had some astonishingly vivid memories of the time he began his career in the antiques trade, starting with the world-famous antique dealers M. Harris & Sons on 4th November 1946. During this enthralling interview, peppered with delicious anecdotes of his time at Moss Harris, John recalled with amazing clarity the characters he encountered during an astonishing 70 years experience of the antique trade!

John started with Moss Harris & Sons, aged just 16 years of age – working in workshops at M. Harris, at 27 Little Russell Street, near the British Museum. The main showrooms for M. Harris were in New Oxford Street (shown below, in c.1921); John recalled a different shop front when he joined the firm in 1946 – and thinks that the shop front was changed sometime in the late 1930s, just before World War II.

M. Harris & Sons, New Oxford Street, London, in 1921.

M. Harris were perhaps the leading antique furniture dealers in the world and when John joined the firm in 1946 they had been trading for 80 years.  The business had roots back to 1868, with the firm of D.L. Isaacs. Moss Harris, who made his first fortune as a dealer in horsehair, recycling this material back into the furniture trades for upholstery work, acquired the D.L. Isaacs business around the time of World War I and established M. Harris & Sons. They published a celebratory publication in their centenary year 1968. When John worked at the firm, he recalled that they still had more than 100 rooms filled with antique furniture.

John initially worked under the then office manager, Harold Dawson, and was tasked with booking in goods that constantly arrived in the yard behind the New Oxford Street shop – he remembered that in those days there was often so much stock that they had trouble getting it into the store rooms in time before closing the yard. John was paid £2.0.0 per week when he started, but obtained a pay rise of 5 shillings a week within a few months.

John’s memories of the business in the 1940s and 1950s will, I’m sure, be a rich resource for future scholars; he remembers, for example, one of the old retainers from the D.L. Isaacs business deal (there was an agreement, apparently, that a member of the Isaacs family was to be attached to the business until the last member of the family died out) – and John remembers ‘Old Ick’, resplendent in top hat, walking the floor of the M. Harris galleries. John also remembered the sad day when George Harris (one of two sons of Moss Harris) died suddenly of a heart attack; George was found dead in his Bugatti in Mecklenberg Square at 4am.  John recalls having to steer George’s Bugatti back into the yard at M. Harris as the police removed the car back to the shop. One of the lighter memories John recalled, was the time in 1947 when Sidney Harris (the other son of Moss Harris), was entertaining some important clients at the Grosvenor House Antiques Fair, but had inadvertently left the shop without his wallet.  John was immediately dispatched to the Grosvenor House Hotel with £100 in crisp £5 notes, and was allowed by Sidney to wander the stands at the Grosvenor House Fair during the afternoon – the first time that John had seen Grosvenor House, which was then the premier event in the antiques calendar.

M. Harris & Sons; one of the showrooms in 1948.

John also recalled that in 1946, when John joined the firm, business was booming, but after John did his National Service in 1948, and returned to M. Harris in the Spring of 1950, he remembered that the business had changed; George had died in 1947, and Sidney, his brother, also died in the late 1940s, leaving the firm with significant Death Duties to pay.

There are many other more amusing, and illuminating anecdotes of John’s time at Moss Harris – memories of visits by Queen Mary and the Princess Elizabeth in the early 1950s (Moss Harris were granted Appointment to Queen Mary as  ‘Dealers in Antique Furniture & Works of Art’), as well as many other well known personalities and V.I.P.s.

John’s memories of his own business, which he started, with his wife Lorraine, in 1963, were equally fascinating. He recalled the antiques scene in Petworth – which when he opened his shop in 1963, had just 4 antique businesses; 2 of which were cabinetmakers and antique dealers (Ron Denman and Mr Collingham)….

Lorraine Morris, wife of John Morris. Photograph 2017. Photograph copyright Antique Dealers project, University of Leeds.

…. and 2 antique dealers proper (Bill Boss, and Miss Streeter, of Streeter & Daughter). As the antique business boomed during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, Petworth became home to at least 15 dealers, eventually becoming a key location for the trade.  During the interview John also recalled his memories of some of the ‘old characters’ of the antique trade, now long gone – people such as Sam Wolsey, Claude Partridge, J. Rochelle Thomas, and ‘Jippy’ Botibol (J. M. Botibol), as well as more recently departed dealers such as the legendary Dick’ Turpin.

Our interview with John makes an absolutely fascinating addition to our corpus of interviews with members of the antique trade, and like all of our interviews, will, once edited, be available on the project website in due course.

Mark

August 29, 2017

New Oral History Interview – Michael Pick of Stair & Co.

Our Oral History Interviews with key members of the antique trade continues – thanks to the energy and enthusiasm of Chris Coles, our Lead Volunteer Researcher; and thanks again to the BADA, who so generously support these new ‘BADA Voices’ extensions to the Oral History research theme for the Antique Dealers project. 

Our new interview is with Michael Pick, who for many years worked at the well-known English Furniture dealers Stair & Company – Michael also worked at Frank Partridge & Co., so his experience at the top of the antique trade is very considerable indeed.

Michael Pick, in 1995, whilst at Stair & Co. Photograph courtesy of Michael Pick.

Catalogue of Stair & Andrew, c.1920s. Private collection.

Michael started his career in the antique trade in 1978, joining the firm of Stair & Co (established as Stair & Andrew in 1911) under the care and tutelage of Mary Holder, who had formerly worked for the dealership R.L. Harrington, which Stair & Co purchased in 1968. Michael stayed with Stair until 2000, when he joined Frank Partridge & Co., staying until 2006. For more information on Stair & Co., and Partridge & Sons, and many other dealers, please see our research project interactive website antiquetrade.leeds.ac.uk

During this highly engaging interview Michael told us how he was introduced to the world of antiques by the well-known writer on collecting, Bevis Hillier (who was at the time at Connoisseur Magazine) before he eventually obtained a position with Stair & Co in 1978. Michael reflected on his time at Stair & Co., recalling the regular buying trips with Mary Holder around the other London dealers, in the Fulham Road and Kensington Church Street in the 1970s and 1980s. As Michael suggested during the interview, the importance of American collectors to many British antique businesses, not least Stair & Co., was a key theme. Stair had opened shops in Palm Beach and Williamsburg in the USA after WWII, expanding their American operations that had been established by Stair & Andrew in New York in 1911.  Michael highlighted how crucial the UK-USA market was to the Stair business, recalling that Alastair Stair came to London 2 or 3 times a year with his wife Phyllis, buying 300 or so pieces on each trip to feed the appetite for American collectors and decorators.

As many of the followers of the Antiques Dealer project will be aware, Stair & Co was bought by the music mogul and antique collector Jules Stein (1896-1981)  (owner of MCA, Music Corporation of America and film star agent), in 1952; the business was sold to the financier David Murdoch in 1981 after the death of Stein. Michael tells us that the Stair business shifted slightly with the acquisition by Murdoch, moving to a much more eclectic look, a mixture of old and new, that is now so fashionable.  Indeed it seems that David Murdoch preferred this look, exemplified, as Michael tells us, in the collections that Murdoch assembled at his home ‘Casa Encantada’ in Bel Air, Los Angeles. This was a property originally built in the 1930s for the Hylda Boldt Webber, before being bought by the hotelier Conrad Hilton (1887-1979) who sold the house to Murdoch in 1979, shortly before Murdoch bought the Stair & Co business.  And here’s a an early photograph of ‘Casa Encantada’ (taken in 1939), when it was then owned by Mrs Boldt Webber.

Casa Encanada, Bel Air, Los Angeles, in 1939, the home of Mrs Boldt Webber. Photograph copyright University of California.

Murdoch apparently purchased the Bel Air mansion fully furnished from Conrad Hilton, before selling the contents and refurnishing the property with, then, very fashionable ‘English Antiques’. These recollections from Michael certainly reinforce the historical significance of the transatlantic trade in antiques, not just in the opening decades of the 20th century (as many people will know), but also how these significant exchanges continued throughout the 20th century.

Our interview with Michael continued with his reflections on his move to Frank Partridge & Sons in 2001; Michael recalled that the most significant change was not so much in the quality of the objects that Stair & Co and Partridge sold, but more in the sheer scale of the operations – Michael tells us that Stair & Co had just 3 members of staff, whilst Partridge had as many as 32 members of staff when he joined the firm.

Partridge & Co., New Bond Street, London, c.2000.

There are many other fascinating observations on the history of the antique trade in our interview with Michael, from the changing taste in antiques, the presentation (and sales ticketing) of objects, to the increasing significance of Antique Fairs.

Like all of our other Oral History interviews with members of the antique trade, our interview with Michael will be available via the project websites, once our team have had a chance to edit the interview.  Our thanks go to Michael and Chris for all their help with the ‘Voices from the Trade’ oral history interviews project.

Mark

 

 

 

 

May 16, 2017

New Oral History Interview – Lanto Synge, from Mallett & Sons

Our latest Oral History Interview took place last week, with Lanto Synge in the interviewee chair. The interview was conducted by our lead project volunteer, Chris Coles (thank you again Chris!) and is part of our continued efforts to capture the Voices from the Trade as part of the ‘BADA Voices’ extension to the Oral History project (thanks again to the BADA for their support). 

Lanto, as many of you will know, worked at the world-famous antique dealers Mallett & Sons for almost 40 years, after joining the firm in 1969, rising through the ranks to ultimately become Chief Executive of the firm in 1997; Lanto eventually retired in 2009.

Lanto Synge, formerly of Mallet & Sons (Antiques). Photograph courtesy of Lanto Synge.

Catalogue from Mallett & Son, 1930s.

In this absolutely absorbing interview Lanto recalls the history of Mallet & Sons – they are one of the oldest antique dealing firms in the world, established in 1865 by John Mallett in Milsom Street, Bath, Somerset. During the interview Lanto reflected on his memories of working at the firm during the 1960s-1990s and describes the changes in marketing practices, the displays in the galleries (there were 28 rooms of antique furniture and objects in Mallett’s Bond Street showrooms by the time Lanto retired in 2009); he also recalls the various individuals involved in the business over the period he worked at Mallett.

Lanto was also instrumental in the development of Mallett’s antique business in Australia and during the interview he reflects on the expanding business for antiques in the 1980s.  There are some fascinating memories on many leading dealers and collectors, as well as observations on the role of the antique fair (especially The Grosvenor House Fair) in the developing antique trade.

Lanto is also a leading expert and author on the subject of antique textiles, and his enthusiasm, and expertise, is clearly expressed in a series of engaging reflections on the development of his interest in antique textiles and tapestries.  Our interview with Lanto, as with all of the other Oral History interviews we have undertaken for the Antique Dealers Research Project, will be edited and made available in due course.

Thank you again to Lanto and Chris Coles for taking the time to expand our Oral History strand of the research project.

Mark

 

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