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He succeeds Nicholas Somers who has held the position for three years and will be joined by two vice chairmen: Mark Dalrymple of loss adjusters Tyler & Co and Jeremy Lamond of Shrewsbury saleroom Halls, who bring experience from the worlds of insurance, valuation and auctioneering.

Education, recruitment and relevance are the three tenets Mr Toovey hopes to take forward in the coming years.

"Lifelong learning is key to the success of a vibrant profession that remains relevant and continues to set standards," he told ATG.

Currently, graduates wishing to enter the profession can take the Kingston University MA, but a more recent development is the BA in Art, Design & Business to be offered by Southampton Solent University that will draw on their excellent library and reference collection.

Paying tribute to the work and commitment Nicholas Somers showed on this matter, Mr Toovey hopes that the RICS will soon be able to accredit the new course.

Despite a perceived crisis in numbers entering the profession, the new chairman detects signs that art and antiques are becoming an aspirational career choice once again.

"The profession combines the excitement of the commercial and academic art world. Employment as a consultant specialist in areas of expertise allows for lifestyle choices and flexibility in working patterns which many find attractive.

"Members up and down the country are reporting increasing numbers of enquiries from a younger generation seeking membership."

He emphasised, however, the need for the RICS Arts and Antiques faculty to continue to be accessible and relevant to the changing market.

A key moment for the association as a whole will, he believes, be the imminent vote on the recommendations made in the influential Carsberg Review, a review of the RICS regulatory regime carried out by Sir Bryan Carsberg.

"Carsberg," says Mr Toovey - whose own career spans 21 years as a chartered arts and antiques surveyor - "offers the possibility of clearer, simpler but strong principle-based regulation, making compliance for members more straightforward whilst maintaining public confidence and protection."

The last official function of Nicholas Somers will be to chair the faculty's September conference in Cambridge where - in between preparations for his September 20 sales (see above) - Mr Toovey's appointment will be made official.