UK dealers should be optimistic about returning to business ‘as usual’ post lockdown, says their New Zealand counterpart Jonathan Gooderham of Jonathan Grant Galleries.
His shop in the Parnell suburb of Auckland reopened three weeks ago, although it should be cautioned that the strict lockdown in New Zealand has been far more effective than in the UK and cases appear to have been eradicated.
Writing to ATG (see Letters), Gooderham says that “since lockdown ceased, we have had consistently good sales with many people coming in with screenshots on their phones of artworks from our websites asking to see the works and purchasing on the spot”.
His first sale on reopening was a large picture of the country’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern, which was displayed in the shop window during the strict lockdown and was offered for NZ$19,500 (about £9750). He adds that web traffic has been up by 72% and many sales have gone to international buyers.
On your marks, get set.…
Meanwhile, dealers all over England are just beginning to face the ‘new normal’ of post-lockdown life.
Among those set to open this week (June 15 in line with government regulations) was London antiquities specialist Charles Ede, which marked the occasion with an exhibition: Unbolting the Doors (to the Past).
It features works from the ancient Mediterranean world including sculpture, Roman glass and Egyptian faience artefacts. Many of the works were due to be featured at Masterpiece (see Masterpiece story) this summer and some will be included in the fair’s virtual edition.
The Cotswolds Antiques Dealers’ Association (CADA) last week announced the dates when its members would reopen premises in line with government guidelines and social distancing regulations.
The association advised visitors that some galleries are by appointment only and to contact individual dealers to arrange a time before showing up at the door.
Many firms have already taken the plunge, and, at the time of writing, were due to open their doors on Monday. Among them are Haynes Fine Art, Howards Jewellers, and Christopher Clarke Antiques.
Architectural Heritage, run by CADA chief Alex Puddy, has opened its doors too, its grounds offering visitors a chance to browse in the open. Mark Goodger Antiques (open by appointment only) follows on Tuesday and Witney Antiques on Wednesday while Legge Carpets plans to open in early July, its exact date to be determined.
The CADA fair due to take place this October has been postponed and will now take place in October 2021 (see News Digest).