Dealer Tom Parry who runs Chester’s Farm Antiques

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1 How did you get your start?

My wife Anita and I are collectors turned dealers. When our house became too full and our pockets too shallow to justify buying what we wanted, we started to sell. We found that we bought more interesting and exciting new stock and the pleasure of enjoying it for a short period was more intense. So, we gave up the paid employment to do more of it.

2 What challenges are facing the trade in the cioming months?

Boy, let’s hope we get back to selling face to face! There is no substitute for handling items and talking to the owners who are passionate about them. Antiques are physical objects but not commodities, and my fear is that online buying and selling doesn’t encourage the variety and spice that fairs and shops can provide.

3 Have you noticed any collecting trends in the the past few months or year?

On the whole I find looking for trends a bit of a hopeless quest – you know when something’s gone out of fashion, but finding the new thing is harder to do. I think buying good-quality but affordable items is the best way of staying ahead.

4 What is one great discovery you’ve made?

A beautiful vase unmistakeably painted by Marie Braquemond, one of the few women Impressionists. It was made in the 1870s, when women painters were so creative but largely unrecognised. Sorry, it’s not for sale!


The vase painted by Marie Braquemond, discovered by Tom Parry.

You can still find bargains at an auction which everyone else misses – I recently picked up a 16th century Old Master painting catalogued as Victorian. Most people like to stay safe, but sometimes acting on a hunch is worth it as long as you don’t swim out too far.

5 Real ale or espresso martini?

I’m originally from Suffolk, so flat beer is my thing.

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