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In a deal officially announced last Wednesday – but one of the worst-kept secrets in the auction business – Hamptons Fine Art becomes part of the UK’s largest group of regional auctioneers, who already have salerooms in Donnington, Bristol, Tunbridge Wells, Eastbourne, Honiton, and most recently, Nottingham.

This development comes less than two months after The Fine Art Auction Group announced the addition of Neales of Nottingham to their multi-saleroom auction business.

After a period of settling in, it is likely that, because of the geographic location of Hamptons’ two salerooms in Godalming, Surrey, and Marlbor-ough, Wiltshire, the business will be rebranded Dreweatt Neate Fine Art, in line with the other salerooms in the South of England operated by TFAAG.

Richard Madley will continue to run Hamptons and will be joining TFAAG’s board. Hamptons Fine Art will retain its strong ties to the offices of Hamptons International Estate Agents.

Mike Thoms, chief executive of TFAAG, told the Antiques Trade Gazette the reasoning behind the latest acquisition. “[While] the Neales deal was about geographical expansion… bringing Hamptons into the group is more about consolidation of our position in an important area of the country where we are already well-established.

“The South of England is a crucial part of the country for any regional auction business with national aspirations. Hamptons not only adds a very strong team of individuals, it also strengthens our business in the South East, where the Godalming saleroom will work closely with our existing salerooms in Tunbridge Wells and Eastbourne, and along the M4 corridor, where the Marlborough saleroom will benefit from the proximity of our Donnington Priory and Bristol salerooms.”

Hamptons have been conducting fine art and antique auctions since the 19th century. The current Godalming saleroom was formerly Messenger, May & Baverstock, and was acquired by Hamptons in 1986. The Marlborough saleroom had previously been the long-established Dennis Pocock & Son auction business.