“Britain’s antiques industry is thriving, and full of bright young things – an up-and-coming generation that are ensuring its vigour.”
This is the conclusion of the judging
panel for the 2013 National Antiques Week Young Guns award,
following their announcement of a shortlist of 12 selected from a
large pool of entrants who were asked to submit the story of how
they came into the antiques business, what drives their passion and
how they are bringing that passion to the marketplace.
The idea for this award stemmed from a group
of young dealers who have been connecting and helping each other
out via Twitter for several years as #AntiquesYoungGuns.
Gail McLeod, of the awards panel and
organiser of National Antiques Week, is delighted with the quality
of the entries. "Each one shows the true spirit that we were
looking for and all are trail blazers in their own right," she
says. "Without exception, their greatest connection is that they
fell in love with old objects at a very young age;they live by
their passions for pieces of history that 'sing' to them."
The 2013 winner and two runners-up will be
announced on April 25 during the Spring Decorative
Antiques & Textiles Fair at a ceremony sponsored by
the fair's organiser. The Decorative Fair will also host a special
foyer display of stock drawn from many of the contenders in this
year's Young Guns award, curated by Mark Hill, member of the awards
panel and exhibitor at the Decorative Fair.
National Antiques Week runs from April 20 to
28. If you have special activities planned for this week please let
the organisers know. Full details at www.nationalantiquesweek.co.uk.
Profiles of the shortlisted entrants
for the 2013 National Antiques Week Young Guns award:
Robbie Timms (30),
S&S Timms Antiques from Ampthill,
Bedfordshire, one of the founding members of the original
#AntiquesYoungGuns. He brings a new outlook to the traditional
furniture side of the trade. Robbie launched the world's first
antiques shop iPhone/iPad App. Joined the family antiques business
aged 16, and has 'upped the ante' by exhibiting at the UK's top
Natalie Smith (32),
Opened her own antique centre at only 26 years
old and proves that antique centres are not just an old person's
game. Got the antiques bug while visiting car boot fairs with her
dad, took a degree in Italian, worked for a jewellers in Venice but
really got into dealing when she helped sell some of her father's
Keeley Harris (36), York
Runs Discover Vintage & Vintage Emporium,
has been making waves from her shop in York and from the various
fairs she runs throughout the country. Fell in love with a
Victorian doll's house aged eight, and spent her teens buying at
car boots and charity shops to sell on at antiques fairs. Interim
jobs in events have helped her create very interactive vintage
Kieran Mathewson (26),
Dealer in tribal art, architectural reclamation
and country furniture. Has carved out a career through
determination and a love for objects. First struck aged eight by a
pewter tankard in a South African antiques shop that looked like
one he had seen in a pirate movie -"I remember my heart racing,
wondering about its history. That feeling is a high I have been
chasing ever since!"
Paul Jones (29), N. Wales
Runs Morgan Fairs in Wales and has his own shop
in Cheshire specialising in Victorian pine and country furniture,
and smaller items including books, folk art and kitchenalia. His
parents are in the trade (specialist Welsh and vernacular furniture
Paul was a mechanic until he realised his heart
was really in antiques. Dealt at fairs for two years before opening
his own shop.
Timothy Medhurst (21),
Turned a childhood love of coins in to a career
as an auctioneer specialising in the numismatic world. Determined
to bring a youthful edge to a field sometimes seen as old and
stuffy. The youngest of our short-list, Timothy aged 10 was first
amazed by a Victorian crown coin shown him by his grandmother. That
sparked a collecting craze he developed into an online dealing
business whilst still at school.
Matthew Nunn (37), Reading
Runs Apsley Antiques Ltd & Fleaglass Ltd and
has been bringing the scientific antiques market to a whole new
Spent years working in engineering but was hooked on antiques as a
child, and started dealing when eBay launched.
Adam Partridge (39),
Adam is still a young gun, but has achieved so
much in auctioneering after some major early set-backs. Well known
from TV (Flog It! et al). His first purchase: a small oil
painting, bought with pocket money aged eight, which he still has.
Read classics at Oxford but spent more time haunting fairs and
Sam Loxton (33), London
Travels the world sourcing the finest jewellery
for Lucas Rarities Ltd and has a love for the finest items. In his
words: "I consider myself a champion of antique jewellery…" He
adored old books and antiques; soon after school he was offered two
jobs at once - with the National Art Library and with Christie's as
a porter in the jewellery department. He took the latter and has
been utterly dedicated to jewels ever since.
Chris Oxley (36),
Another founding member of the
#AntiquesYoungGuns, busy rejuvenating the timeless world of fine
clocks. His parents established P.A.Oxley Antique Clocks, and Chris
started going on buying trips with them from the age of 10. He
joined the business after leaving school, and now runs it with his
Alys Dobbie (29), Cornwall
& E. Sussex
Owns two vintage shops under the Nana Dobbie
brand, one in Brighton and one in Lostwithiel, Cornwall; causing a
stir in the 20th century collectables and vintage worlds. Another
who fell in love with 'retro' whilst car-booting with her dad.
Tried art college but couldn't resist temptation to deal. Studied
in order to do her own modern furniture restoration, and says her
business has only ever used recycled packaging!
James Gooch (30),
Another founding member of the
#AntiquesYoungGuns, runs Doe & Hope, a web-based antiques and
curios shop that aims to bring a bit of fun and showmanship to the
trade. Early obsession with antiques television programmes. With a
BA in film & video, he first worked as a runner and researcher
in TV production. A small legacy from his grandmother was what
prompted him to set up shop.