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Simon Cottle, formerly head of glass and ceramics for Sotheby’s London and Nette Megens, a specialist in the same department join this week.

Bonhams have also announced that Sotheby’s European ceramics specialist Sebastian Kuhn will join them in the New Year.

Under the direction of John Sandon, Bonhams’ flagship ceramics department has already forged a strong reputation for its British ceramics including a series of benchmark single-owner sales such as the Bernard Watney, and Zorensky and Billie Pain collections.

The addition of Cottle, Megens and Kuhn will beef up the Continental side and add additional expertise in glass, Simon Cottle’s particular field of expertise.

The new appointments will also involve changes for some of Bonhams’ existing ceramics staff as part of the structural reorganisation.

The auctioneers have announced that John Sandon will now take on the role of international director of European ceramics and glass while his colleague of 13-years-standing, Fergus Gambon, will become departmental director of British ceramics.

Simon Cottle joins as the departmental director of Continental ceramics and glass with Nette Megens assisting with Continental expertise. Bonhams other specialist Susan Newell will, they said, continue in her current role.

Talking about the changes John Sandon said: “I have always enjoyed a friendly rivalry with our Sotheby’s ceramics colleagues and I am delighted to have such expertise join my team. Their individual strengths and knowledge will, without doubt, see Bonhams become market leaders in Continental glass and ceramics as well as British porcelain”.

Mr Cottle’s and Ms Megens’ departure from Sotheby’s has also necessitated a reorganisation there. Philip Howell takes over from Simon Cottle as departmental head and, from September, Peter Arney, a former head of Sotheby’s ceramics, will join as a consultant bringing his expertise and experience to Sotheby’s table.

Michael Bing, managing director of Sotheby’s Olympia, where their ceramics department is based, said there would be two sales of ceramics at Bond Street every year.

“The idea is that we will sell European ceramics of a high order,” he said, adding that while there might still be single-owner auctions in their other rooms in Continental Europe, the aim was to make Bond Street their European centre for ceramic sales.

“It’s about focusing our ceramic activity in London,” he explained.

By Anne Crane