Stephen Welbourne.

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1. How did you get your start?

When I began dealing I was specialising in English watercolours and initially, most of the turnover came from buying and selling within the trade which was a great and rapid learning curve. These days such an experience is impossible as there are so few dealers one might call on. My main business now comes almost exclusively from fairs.

2. How has the market changed?

The market has shifted regrettably away from traditional art towards contemporary. And, inevitably, the internet has become a major interface between dealers and clients. Galleries dealing in 19th century pictures have all but disappeared in the provinces.

3. What is your hope for the market?

A swing back to interest in traditional art, which has become distinctly more affordable. A dealer’s task is to convey the attraction of older works to the public and younger people in particular. The key message is that first time buyers can purchase these wonderful pieces for a fraction of what they used to cost and then have the joy of ownership to boot.

4. Why are you exhibiting at the Esher fair?

I am impressed with the organiser’s track record of management, promotion and the general marketing initiative. The fair is in an excellent location close to all the motorway links and in a great catchment area.

5. How do you use the internet in your business?

The internet is inescapable from a dealer’s perspective. I can get up in the morning, log on to and view every sale in the UK and beyond. In the old days one would travel all over the country to view auctions. We also do business online through our website Antique English Watercolours – Original British Oil Paintings (see URL, top), which is connected to social media. 

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