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1. What is your focus?

I work for myself, concentrating on 20th century European decorative arts, which I have collected since I was 12, an area I developed for Mallett while I was there. I focus on good quality and unusual items and try to stay away from anything you can find multiple examples of online.

2. How did you get your start?

While at school I begged Christie’s South Kensington’s 20th century department to take me as an intern and they bent the rules to allow a 15-year-old in for a few weeks. I then did six months in King Street before university, working on the first ‘chair’ sale and learning a lot under Nicola Redway, a specialist in 20th century decorative arts.

I was a director of Mallett for 11 years until I left last year. It seems a welltrodden route to leave and then exhibit at Battersea – exhibitors Tim Langston, Thomas Woodham-Smith and Richard Cave are all recent ex-colleagues.

3. Fairs vs shops?

I’m enjoying the flexibility that comes with not being tied to a shop which, having just started, I couldn’t afford anyway. I love the energy of fairs and being around one’s peers in what can otherwise be quite a solitary profession.

4. Threats to the market?

The erroneous perception that buying at auction guarantees someone the best ‘value’ and well-meaning but ill-informed legislators in the US and the UK.

Also, CSK nurtured and kept a lot of clients interested in the wide range of decorative arts. Its closure later this year will have a longer and wider impact than we realise.

5. One rule you live by as a dealer?

Don’t buy off a photo – I’ve learnt that the hard way.

If you would like to be featured in 5 Questions, please contact francesallitt@auctiontechnologygroup.com