Jonathan Pratt, soon to be managing director of Dreweatts.

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Based at Donnington Priory, he will work alongside George Bailey who will assume the role of chairman. Pratt will begin his new role on August 13.

A regular on BBC’s Bargain Hunt, Antiques Road Trip and Flog It!, he took his first steps in the auction world at Dreweatts, working at his then local auction house on two occasions before joining Sotheby’s Sussex in 2002.

He became managing director of Bellmans of Wisborough Green, West Sussex, in 2005, with the firm adding a Winchester saleroom in 2016.

‘An area I know well’

Speaking to ATG last week, after announcements of the appointment had been made to staff at both Dreweatts and Bellmans on July 19, Pratt said he was “looking forward to returning to one of the country’s top regional auction houses and an area I know very well”.

He added that his immediate priorities were still with Bellmans where he has worked for 13 years, alongside majorityowner Patrick White (also of art logistics company Gander & White).

“I’m proud of what we have achieved here in the past decade and know I will leave the business, and a great team of staff, in good stead,” said Pratt.

Dreweatts has been rebuilding since October when it (and sister firm Bloomsbury) was acquired by art consultancy and valuation firm Gurr Johns from Stanley Gibbons for £1.25m.

Dealership Mallett, an exhibitor at the recent Masterpiece London fair, is also part of the group.

Bailey has been juggling both managing director and chairman roles since the takeover.

“We were always going to need someone to run both the day-to-day business and oversee a 10-year plan to build the business and the brand,” he said. “Jonathan will be perfect in that role.”

As reported in ATG No 2350, wristwatch expert Adrian Hailwood has joined Dreweatts as a senior specialist. Bailey said no further changes are planned to the management team.