When I started in the art business in 1956, I joined Rayner MacConnal at 14 Duke Street, St James’s.
Ian Appleby was a close neighbour and I knew him quite well. I well remember Ian when I was 17 years of age. He brought a large package and asked whether I would be interested in buying some pictures by Atkinson Grimshaw.
Only having been in the art business for a matter of months, I asked him to show them to me, upon which he opened a parcel containing 27 pictures by the artist.
Not easy for a fledgling dealer to understand, I was struck by the photographic quality of the pictures and asked him how much they were.
He told me they were £7 for the small ones, £12 for the middle size and for the large ones £27 each.
The proviso was, however, that I had to buy all 27 of the pictures. I managed to get him to sell me three of them for £20, declining the rest of the group.
What I should have done was bought the whole lot, stored them and, in due course, it would have been a magnificent retirement fund! I would suggest that collection of Grimshaws would now have a value of over £12 million.
With Ian’s help some years later, I was able to mount a large exhibition at Le Gallais in St Helier (an important department store in Jersey, equivalent of Harrods).
I well remember Bing Crosby with his wife Kathryn Grant visiting the exhibition to purchase a five-figure painting by Eugene de Blaas before continuing his journey to the Rome Olympics.
All-in-all, happy memories indeed.
David L Mason OBE