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Jonathan Horne, the leading Kensington specialist in English pottery, and Alistair Sampson Antiques, the well-known Mayfair-based dealers in English pottery, vernacular furniture and works of art are to merge on July 1.

The new business will trade under the name Sampson & Horne and be based at Alistair Sampson Antiques' existing premises at 120 Mount Street, London W1. Mr Horne will leave his Kensington Church Street, W8 shop after 30 years.

On paper, the two concerns will remain separate companies, but effectively they will commence operating as Sampson & Horne Antiques this month with stands at The Summer Olympia, Grosvenor House and the International Ceramics Fair and Seminar.

Currently, the Mount Street showrooms are being refurbished and redesigned to incorporate new display cases and give the space a more contemporary feel. The Sampson stock, including furniture, will be displayed on the ground and lower floors while a room will be dedicated to early English ceramics.

Jonathan Horne is recognised as holding one of the world's most comprehensive stocks of medieval pottery, English delftware, slipware, saltglaze, pearlware, and creamware and is widely published in his field.

Alistair Sampson Antiques is now headed by Christopher Banks, who has worked in the firm for 25 years and been a director for the past 15. Alistair Sampson himself died in January this year.

After many years of amicable competition, the new business represents a formidable alliance, and Jonathan Horne comments: "I am delighted with this opportunity to join my old friends at Alistair Sampson Antiques. The combination of both businesses will give us an unparalleled position in the market."

Christopher Banks echoes that sentiment and says: "This is an excellent time to be merging with Jonathan. Our businesses complement each other and I look forward to our joint progress as Sampson & Horne Antiques."

As well as a presence at top British fairs, both Horne and Sampson have long had a strong presence at the leading American fairs. The two BADA heavyweights have an international following and their combined client lists will undoubtedly prove an awesome new force in the specialist discipline of English pottery.

Their coming together is bound to have a marked effect on the international market as both have been strong buyers at auction, often in competition with each other, and they have both been major suppliers to not only collectors but also museums and decorators.

There is no news yet as to the future of Jonathan Horne's landmark shop at 66c Kensington Church Street.

By David Moss