1 How did you get your start?
My career in antiques began in 1996 at the age of 16 when I did my work experience as a porter at a local auction house.
I then worked for several dealers, learning the tricks of the trade from the old masters of Tunbridge Wells. It wasn’t long before I decided I wanted to be a dealer myself. I saved up for a van and my career started. As anyone in the trade will know, it hasn’t always been plain sailing.
2 What was one early lesson?
If someone tells you your item is rubbish, don’t believe them. If you believe in your item, keep researching it.
3 What is your field?
I guess I am most known for portrait paintings, but I do also enjoy searching for the out-of-the-ordinary – the problem is finding genuinely curious items.
4 What was one great discovery you’ve made?
My most successful purchases have always been clothing of powerful women. For example, I was lucky enough to buy a collection of Queen Elizabeth II’s childhood clothes with rock-solid provenance (pictured below). They came directly from Her Majesty’s childhood nanny Miss Clara Knight. I sold some of the collection in Kerry Taylor’s auction in Bermondsey.
5 Who do you admire from the art and antiques world?
Although I’ve been in the trade longer, I most admire my big brother Darren (Antique Hadden), the famous early oak dealer. When I first started out doing house clearances, he would always tell me to get a proper job!
However, things change, and he got into the trade himself. He has been the person to push me and encourage me to buy better things and up my game. The way he has thrown himself into the trade is a real inspiration – he has learned more about oak furniture than some experts have learned in a lifetime.
If you would like to be featured in 5 Questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org