1. How did you get your start?
I wanted to become a specialist in my particular areas of fine art interest (sporting, wildlife and maritime), and realised that could not be done at the big two auction houses.
They seemed to be moving away from specialisms towards more general formats, and thus in a ‘Jerry Maguire’ moment of madness I resigned and took two members of staff with me. Best decision of my life.
2. Fairs vs shops?
Shops. My feeling is that the era of antique art fairs is gradually coming to an end (in London especially), and the future is either through luxury brand fairs or shop fronts. Shops/galleries are vital to niche dealers who can aid collectors with expertise in their subjects.
3. Advantages of Petworth?
Petworth has historically been a hub for fine art, and after a minor lapse is returning with a vengeance. London is getting more and more time consuming to get to and with its proximity to many urban centres in the south, Petworth is ideally placed for prospective buyers.
4. Biggest threat to the market?
A serious lack of academic collectors. The world wars still inspire collectors, as do national heroes such as Nelson, but for specific artists the collectorbase has all but disappeared. Maritime artists such as Luny or Whitcombe are prime examples that used to have great collector bases, but are now reduced to ‘decorative’ buyers.
The blame has to be placed at auction houses to some extent, as all important fashions in the art world eminate from them, and they have severely reduced the academic focus on artists that has been their hallmark.
5. Real ale or espresso martini?
Guinness, Guinness and more Guinness…
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