RUPERT Toovey launches his huge new saleroom in Sussex in a week, Dreweatt Neate have just completed a major revamp of their Donnington Priory rooms near Newbury and a host of other salerooms around the country have announced new facilities, upgrades and launches. Here we detail some of these changes, which indicate that however concerned many may be about the state of the UK antiques business, there is confidence out there and the determination to prosper through improved service.
DERBYSHIRE has a new auction house – claiming to be the only dedicated saleroom in the county.
“There are other firms in the area, but they are mainly estate agents who run auctions as a sideline,” said James Lewis, 30, who set up Bamfords in Forman Street, Derby, from the ashes of Neales of Derby, which closed in September.
Mr Lewis, a Southampton graduate and Neales veteran of 10 years, admits the new venture may be “mad”, but is relying on expertise to fill the gap in the market – and to fill the saleroom. He has brought several other former Neales experts on board, including Guy Davis, specialising in books and manuscripts and Sadie Golland for toys plus Wendy Wild looking after interior design and decoration. He is also supported by the voluntary services of another former Neales employee – his wife Annabel.
The company serves as an ark not just for humans, but for a menagerie of animals, including a dog, a sheep, an aviary and several chinchillas, almost all adopted during the valuation rounds.
“We held our first general sale in November, which raised a total of just under £30,000, but we are looking forward to our first proper antiques sale,” said Mr Lewis. He won’t have long to wait – the two-day event is to be held next week on December 10 and 11.
• Scarborough auctioneer David Duggleby and his wife Jane have recently refurbished their Vine Street premises to include another saleroom, new cafe and toilets. “We can now keep the merchandise from the Victoriana sales separate from the bi-monthly fine art sales,” said Mrs. Duggleby.
The cafe, called Lots to Eat, is situated over the top of the new saleroom. “You can enjoy the homecooked food while keeping an eye on the sale.”
• In 2003, Penrith Farmers & Kidd’s in Penrith plan to change their current 10 per cent plus VAT vendor’s commission structure. “We will charge half commission on lots over £1000 and no commission on lots over £3000,” said auctioneer Mark Huddieson.
• If all goes to plan with Newbury Planning Department, Cameo Auction Rooms near Reading will have a second floor that will house local specialist commemorative auctioneer Andrew Hilton and his company Special Auction Services.
Although the two companies will be totally separate organisations, auctioneer Chris Hart of Cameo and Andrew Hilton both recognise that being on a site near the A4 and next to a hotel could be an advantage for both their clients.
The new floor of the purpose-built facility will provide 3200 sq ft of space that will include a saleroom with storage facilities and offices.
Mr Hilton’s first sale in his new saleroom is scheduled for March 1-2. Mr Hart hopes for an end of January sale.
Right: Ceramics feature strongly in Bamford’s sale on December 10-11. The first day of the sale features around 300 lots of 18th/early 19th century porcelain, with local wares featuring prominently, but one of the prized lots comes from a little further afield. The Chelsea teapot, pictured here, combines the appeal of a rare octagonal shape with the popular Kakiemon pattern of alternating panels of iron-red scrolling foliage and floral and fan motifs in azure blue, green and gilt.
Dating from c.1753, the 5in (13cm) high teapot comes to the sale from what auctioneer James Lewis describes as “the deceased estate of a good local collector” who bought it at a sale in London in the late 1980s, and bears a W.H. Pitts collection label. It is to be hoped the teapot’s many plusses will outweigh the matter of a reglued cover when it comes up for sale with an estimate of £3000-4000.
Antiques Trade Gazette is the weekly bible of the fine art and antiques industry. Read articles like this every week in the Antiques Trade Gazette or ATG app. Click here to subscribe today.