The late Craig McGivern.

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

He was for many years a regular exhibitor (alongside myself, his partner) at Newark, Ardingly, Ally Pally and Vincent Square.

Latterly, Kempton became his sole selling venue and he could be found under his gazebo which was always erected on the pitch, rain or shine.

The gazebo was lined with panels of colourful Egyptian printed cotton which had been acquired from the Street of the Tentmakers in Cairo. He had spent many hours cutting it and sewing it back together so that it fitted perfectly.

After the frenetic buying and selling had died down, dealer friends would turn up and Craig would put the stove on. Having ground up the coffee beans by hand in an antique Turkish coffee grinder, he would serve up coffee in 18th century Chinese cups.

A happy hour or so would go by with people showing off their purchases or bemoaning the one that got away!

A tough negotiator, he was once accused of having an asinine way of doing business. Unfortunately, Craig had rather taken against this chap who had the temerity to make a less than generous offer for an object on the stall. He had then refused to sell it to him even though the chap had backed off and agreed to pay the full asking price.

It took the intervention of the chap’s wife to smooth things over and effect the purchase.

The antiques trade is full of wonderful characters and Craig is one who will be sorely missed.

By Jonathan Eade