He is the mastermind behind the three-dealer exhibition A Collectors’ Paradise (June 29-July 6) in St James’s and the Haughton International Seminar (June 27 and 28) which precedes it at Christie’s King Street.
“When you have a curator, for example, who has come to attend the seminar and says it’s like going back to the old days, it’s terribly exciting,” Haughton tells ATG.
He has been dealing and organising fairs and seminars for around 40 years, the earliest of which was the 1982 International Ceramics Fair and Seminar which took place at the Dorchester Hotel.
Since then he and his wife Anna have launched a number of other events such as The International Fine Art and Antiques Dealers Show in New York and a later version of their ceramics fair as Art Antiques London (AAL) in Hyde Park.
Lectures and scholarship were always an integral part of these events, bringing in trade and museum representatives from around the world, and when AAL closed after its 2016 edition, there was a demand to continue the lecture programme.
“So, we started a two-day seminar last year. Lecturers came in from everywhere and it was great success,” Haughton says.
This year it returns with the theme Diplomacy, Power and Wealth. Fifteen speakers including Prof Dame Rosalind Savill giving a talk titled Madame de Pompadour and the Porcelain Power of the Mistress as well as Martyn Downer presenting insights into the history of Lord Nelson’s diamond Chelengk, or ‘Plume of Triumph’, which was stolen from the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, in 1951 and never recovered.
Last year also featured the inaugural staging of Collectors’ Paradise. The exhibition takes place at Haughton’s Duke Street St James’s gallery and unites his offerings with those of Chrisophe Perlès of Paris and Robyn Robb of Chelsea.
Robb specialises in early English porcelain from the 18th century, similar to Haughton’s focus which is on English and European ceramics. Offering a complement to their stock is Perlès, whose items include Oriental ceramics as well as European pieces.
Getting on well
However, the three are an ideal fit thanks to the fact that they all know each other well. “We all get on and that’s always important when you’re working in the same space. There’s no jealousy over sales,” Haughton adds.
Though the pair of events is smaller and more focused than some of those he has run in the past, the focus on scholarship is unchanged. That is in part because education can be a first step to engaging new clients.
“As a dealer, drawing in a client is one of the most important parts of the job,” Haughton says.
“Having been involved with the academic side of my area over the years, I feel it is terribly important that people learn more about it.
“If it’s possible to get younger people interested early on they will become involved, even if they don’t buy right away.”
In the case of the more established buyers, he believes, there is the same emphasis on top-quality examples in each area of porcelain and ceramics as in much of the rest of the market.
“They only want the best in their collections,” he adds. Fortunately, he feels that he and his fellow specialists are able to offer just that.