The late ceramics specialist John Newton.

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John was born in Birstal in ‘The Old West Riding of Yorkshire’, a true Yorkshire Chap who called a spade a spade.

Having lost his father when he was two, John learnt to become a very independent and resourceful person and knew what he wanted and where he wanted to go in life from an early age. He left school aged 15 and saved like hell for a year and then went on a tour of Venice and Rome where his eyes were opened and he gained a keen interest in antiques and the arts.

In his early life, John enjoyed the support of his drama teacher Millicent Isherwood, who was also a producer and director of The Bradford Playhouse. She saw something special in John and supported him. The encouragement and direction she gave him was the key to his keen interest in the theatre and influenced his passion for the arts in general.

Before entering the antiques business, John moved to York, where he joined a repertory theatre company based at the Theatre Royal. He then later moved to Scarborough and performed in many summer seasons and pantomimes for Brenda Ross of Dazzle Productions. He also had small ‘walk on’ parts in Emmerdale Farm, Brideshead Revisited (Michael stated we never knew if he ended up on the cutting-room floor), many historical school productions and TV adverts.

John moved to Hull in 1975 and met with his life-long partner Michael, who also had a passion for antiques.

Abbey fairs

After standing at a local church hall flea market in 1978 John saw how these events could be organised more effectively and comfortably for both dealers and public.

Thus, Abbey Antique Fairs was born and John organised events in and around Yorkshire at differing venues on a weekly basis for over 25 years. Even today people speak of those ‘glory days’ when customers queued up to buy at these popular weekend fairs.

Prior to the demise of the weekend hotel fairs John continued to deal and began to exhibit at many ‘date-lined’ events organised by Reg Cooper, Robert Bailey, The NEC and Sue Ede’s Cooper Events, the Harrogate BADA fair and LAPADA fairs in Birmingham. He soon had quite a following and a great client base, of whom many had stayed loyal for as long as he had been trading.

John was a visionary where the antiques trade was concerned and always kept his finger on the pulse by recognising and influencing opportunities and changing tastes.

The days of the traditional decorative English and Continental porcelain was over and John had moved on to become an expert in silver overlay porcelain and glass and salt-glaze studio pottery from small but eminent Westerwald potteries.

John was acutely aware that his life was drawing to a close but was determined to attend his last Winter Antiques for Everyone fair at the NEC.

John Newton Antiques will continue under the care of Michael Lines.