For health reasons military service was out of the question, so he spent the war years as part of the skeleton staff that kept Christie’s running. He was present on the morning after Christie’s was destroyed in the bombing of 1941, after which the auction house moved to Derby House where Bob was cataloguing sales by day and fire-watching at night, sleeping on a table in the basement to avoid rats.
In 1954 Bob joined the Polak Gallery in St James’s where he worked until his retirement in 1989. Initially, he was thrown in at the deep end, attending auctions across the country and gaining his knowledge through research at the museums, learning on the job from the older and more experienced art dealers.
He was extremely nervous in cars and never learnt to drive so would often return to London by train with armfuls of paintings, giving the guard a few shillings to look after them.
Much of his success lay in the knowledge he managed to acquire over the years and he became highly respected within the art trade. A modest man, he was generous in sharing his knowledge and encouraging younger people starting out in the business.
JOHN Rumens passed away peacefully in his sleep on January 7. He was 84.
John was a teacher for many years and retired from lecturing at Hereford Technical College at the age of 55. He then turned to the passion he had for antiques and became a dealer. Firstly he sold anything old and quirky and later his real love: paintings.
He sold his works of art at many antique fairs including the NEC Antiques for Everyone in Birmingham. More recently, because age takes its toll on our bodies, he was restricted to the local Stafford fairs.
John wrote articles about auctions for Antiques Trade Gazette. They were often amusing covering everything you needed to know about a particular auction, such as how to get there, road conditions and parking, and the friendliness of the staff, food availability and even cleanliness of the lavatories. His articles were published periodically.
John was considered a true gentleman and had a good end to a good life. He will be sadly missed by all who knew him.
EDITH Wolf, founder and owner of Bardith Ltd, New York, died on December 17, 2016, aged 86.
Edith ran the business for over 50 years.
Her stores on Madison Avenue, filled with fine pottery, porcelain and decorations of the 18th and early 19th centuries, bought on her trips to Europe, were first ports of call for designers and collectors on the Upper East Side.
She will be fondly remembered by many friends in the trade and museum curators. Her son Steven continues her tradition at Bardith.