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How did you get your start?

I started in some rooms above a bookshop in Chichester in 1985. It was next to Canon Lane, hence the name The Canon Gallery.

What is your focus?

I am a very eclectic buyer so my stock has no particular theme. Broadly speaking, I offer oils and watercolours from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, but if I like a painting I will try to buy it.

However, my favourite period is the 19th century, in particular Victorian oils and watercolours. I try to work in lower price ranges, from £500-20,000.

How has the market changed?

When I started there was no internet or digital photography. I would drive 40,000-50,000 miles a year, view maybe 20 sales a week and have piles of catalogues. Now it is all online and most dealers are based in their homes.

If you go to an auction it is not the fun it used to be. The internet has enabled people from all over the world to view sales as easily as the dealer or collector 20 miles down the road. I prefer the old days.

One thing you learned about the trade during the past 12 months?

That it is getting more difficult to earn a living

How do you go about restoration of stock?

I use two restorers, one of oils and one for watercolours

Describe an exhibition you would love to stage?

Twenty watercolours by Samuel Palmer found in a sketch book and never shown or known about. But then maybe I would just put them in my bookcase to look at in old age. 

One highlight of your career so far?

Selling a watercolour to the British Museum.

Real ale or espresso martini?

A very strong dry martini – don’t need the coffee.

thecanongallery.co.uk