ATG’s 10 Questions with Jason Clarke, Period furniture and antiques dealer, Newbury, Berkshire.
1. How long have you been dealing? I've been buying and selling for about ten years but took the leap about two years ago. Still wondering why I didn't do it earlier!
2. Do you do any fairs? Nearly - I'm just preparing for the 25th Bath Decorative Antiques Fair as part of the Antiques Young Guns Stand. It's been great to get so much encouragement from the trade.
3. What was your first job? Honestly? Ok... selling concert recordings on a market stall. I hasten to add that I was young and impressionable and I took no part in the recording of the aforementioned concerts.
4. Best and worst thing about being a dealer? Best, I don't buy anything that I can't get excited about so it's the thrill of buying something that you absolutely know that the market will love. Worst, capital is not infinite.
5. Best buy and biggest mistake? Best buy, a military campaign packing case that I bought years ago attributed to a soldier called William H Drage. After doing the research I found a book and a picture of the gentleman in question and it suddenly brought the whole piece to life. It's moments like that when I realise exactly why I do this and that's what I try to relay to my customers. It isn't hugely valuable but that's not always the point. Biggest mistake, buying at auction without having first seen the goods. Assume it's not just me... it's a good lesson though.
6. Dream object? I'm writing my Masters dissertation on Georgian library chairs and their origins and I would love to find an Ince & Mayhew "burjair" chair or a Georges Jacob chair. Owning one would be a bonus.
7. Biggest threat to the trade at the moment? Without sounding horribly positive, I think the decorative movement has done wonders for the trade in recent years and recent articles have been hailing the return of brown furniture. If the economy picks up, I think we're heading in the right direction.
8. Any advice for those starting out in the trade? I took the plunge two years ago to study a part-time MA in Antiques with the University of Central Lancashire. It's been invaluable in widening my depth of knowledge on the subject, my research skills and gaining contacts in the trade. Antiques Young Guns is also a fantastic way for dealers to enter the trade and build contacts.
9. Alternative career? I've spent years trying to leave a previous one. I'm really happy to be here.
10. Michelin Star or greasy spoon? If I skip lunch, can I have a morning and evening meal?