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But that is just what has happened with Christopher Cooke who, after 30 years as a restorer, has decided to become a full-time dealer in Chinese furniture.

Christopher, 52, is already a well-known figure in the trade having started restoring at the age of 22 in Mayfair’s Mount Street before moving into large premises in nearby Bourdon Street.

In 1985, he moved to even more extensive premises in Battersea and he still works by appointment seven days a week out of Taybridge House, 3 Taybridge Road, London SW11 (020 7350 0504).

Initially, Christopher‘s main interest was French furniture but he became infatuated with Chinese furniture and became a renowned expert on working with huanghuali wood, restoring for the trade, museums and noted private collections.

In his heart, he was a restorer and did not want the life of a dealer. However, he had garnered the expertise of dealing and, in the later 1980s, with a recession on and a divorce pending, he turned to dealing alongside restoring.

For years Christopher Cooke has spent much time in China where he has helped set up many restoration workshops. Now he has decided that he can get any restoration he needs completed in China and is concentrating all his experience and knowledge on buying and selling Chinese furniture.

Christopher Cooke Restoration Ltd has ceased with immediate effect, but Christopher Cooke Antiques Ltd flourishes in Battersea, where Christopher works with his co-director and sister Carol Clark, and at a shared gallery in Milan. As a dealer he will again be exhibiting at the Air Gallery, Mayfair in November as part of Asian Art in London.

As we have said before, reports in the popular press of the death of antiques dealing are indeed premature.