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The long-standing Gloucester firm, who were a founding member of the Society of Fine Art Auctioneers (SOFAA), say they have chosen to focus upon their core business of property consulting.

Mr Chorley has been with BK for 35 years, crossing paths in his formative years with the company’s most celebrated employee, the late Arthur Negus, who joined the firm in 1947 and became a partner in 1972. The transfer of ownership was effective from July 1. The new firm is called Simon Chorley Art and Antiques Limited.

Mr Chorley told ATG he hoped it would be very much business as usual – there will be no staff changes and BK will continue to provide referrals – but he has given notice to leave The Tithe Barn, Southam by the end of 2006 and is currently negotiating new premises in the area.

New technology will be an area of renewed focus. “Current market conditions make challenging times and Simon Chorley Art and Antiques are fully aware of these as we start to grow the business,” he said. “We remain committed to the development of opportunities that are available through the internet; over the last six months we have developed the innovative ‘spinning image’ which has proved very beneficial in the delivery of online information. This will be taken further with the development of our own online catalogue, which will provide expansive descriptions, condition reports and high quality images.”

Bruton Knowles’ decision to leave behind the art and antiques auction business they started in 1862 follows similar moves taken last year by estate agents Hamilton Osborne King in Dublin and Andrew Grant of Worcester.