A retirement party was held for Spero at Bonhams Knightsbridge on Monday, November 12. The choice of venue was particularly apt: Spero had made his first ever auction purchase here in 1963 when the saleroom was named Puttick & Simpson.
He opened his first shop dealing exclusively in English 18th century porcelain the following year.
Porcelain, he said, had been a passion since encountering a Bow model of a fox (sold for £240) during a boyhood visit to Sotheby’s with his father.
A generation later, when lecturing in the US, he had been delighted to see the same piece again in a Seattle collection. It was thus a remarkable ‘bookend' to find another example of an extremely rare model - only the third recorded - emerge for sale at Bonhams in the week of his retirement.
Spero told his guests - some of whom had bought along original purchase invoices from 1960s - that his shop off Kensington Church Street will close in under a month’s time.
Earlier this year, accompanied by an anecdote-packed catalogue, he sold his personal collection of English blue and white porcelain at a special exhibition, the last of more than 40 scholarly shows he has held during a professional career lasting 54 years.