David Lavender, who died on October 17, 2018, the day after his 88th birthday, was without doubt the most knowledgeable authority on portrait miniatures in the country.
I first met David in 1996 when he was organising a Culloden 250th anniversary commemorative loan exhibition for his stand at The Grosvenor House Art & Antiques Fair.
He was a delightful man to deal with and at that time was trading from 26 Conduit Street, London. His shop was a treasure trove of exquisite objects all with historical significance, beautifully displayed and cared for by his wife Patricia.
David was always immaculate in his manners and his personal pride in his dress, never without a superbly tailored suit. He was one of the fortunate few who made his interests his life’s work and continued learning and dealing until the end.
The son of Russian emigrants, he started his business at the age of 20 having worked for a dealer at 16 sweeping the floors and making tea. His love of history and his eye for the unique, together with his hard work ethic, made him a collector first and a dealer second. Over the years he had sold the same objects time and again, always knowing that the best and rarest object will always find a good home.
He was supporter and adviser to the Wallace Collection in London, cataloguing their collection of miniatures, and he served on vetting committees for Grosvenor House fair, Maastricht and BADA.
David’s first great discovery of a portrait miniature came about 50 years ago when he was offered an 18th-century likeness of Henry Howard, the 12th Earl of Suffolk. He paid £25 for it, put it in a sale and it brought £600. “A few years later I bought it back,” he remembered. “I think I sold it three times!”
I will certainly miss my annual visits to his shop where he and Patricia always had time to talk over coffee and chocolate biscuits. He always wanted to know if there was anything of quality to buy in Scotland!
Renowned Sèvres porcelain expert Judith Howard, 73, has died in Bath after a long illness.
Judith, nee Bolingbroke, was born on August 1, 1945, in Hampstead, London, and attended North London Collegiate School.
The V&A was the only place she wanted to work. Aged 18, by sheer force of personality and determination, she joined the textile department – despite not having the requisite degree – and helped with the establishment of London Fashion Week.
While working full-time, Judith studied at London University, qualifying in 1966 with a diploma in the humanities.
Transferring to the ceramics department at the V&A, she helped Svend Eriksen with his research, leading to a life-long passion for Sèvres porcelain.
Judith, who was renowned for her style and wit, married Alvin Howard in 1972 and their only child Charlotte was born two years later.
In the early 1980s Judith became the curator of the Bowood House Museum, discovering and displaying many important pieces.
Christie’s and Southampton College were two places Judith lectured on fine arts and chattels for the Institute of Surveyors Valuers and Auctioneers.
She also lectured on a freelance basis throughout the south of England, advising and teaching established auctioneers, TV antiques personalities, collectors and researchers around the world.
As Judith’s health failed she was less mobile and so social media became an important platform for her sage advice and consultancy.
A celebration of her life will be held in March at Cleeve House, Wiltshire.
Donations in Judith’s name can be made to the RUH Forever Friends Appeal. Enquiries to Charlotte Howard at email@example.com
Charlotte and Alvin Howard