Michael Baggott captures exactly how the entirety of the trade could promote antiques; both the sale of and the love of them, in the wider world in the 21st century, and offers a very well thought-through template of how it should proceed and of whom it should consist.
I write this from the desk of my closed ‘non-essential’ shop; writing another article on antiques for my county magazine. This one is on the recent Netflix television drama Bridgerton, focusing on Regency period antiques and interiors.
This involved bingewatching the whole eight episodes of this popular recent TV series, an experience I can only compare to taking a punishment beating.
Nevertheless, in the cause of promoting antiques and their use in modern interiors, and thus bringing interest and love of them to a wider and younger public, with hitherto little understanding of history or antiques, one must strain every sinew.
Interior design is an overlooked field and I would suggest that better-known interior designers who encourage furnishing with antiques be encouraged to join too.
Covid-19 has affected us all, and those who purchase antiques and art will have been as affected as randomly as the rest of the general public. Those who still have spending power post the Covid horror will be keen to spend it. This is surely the perfect moment to galvanise the trade in a united effort, regardless of how grand our premises, how well-connected our clients and how deep their pockets, in a united front.
We need to make ourselves more accessible in every way, and be open to new ways to sell and to operate, as I’m sure many dealers who have experienced great success online, having previously been reluctant to try that method of sale, will now agree. The ‘antiques council’ would allow us more easily to share knowledge and to network.
It is symbolic that antiques markets selling items out of doors, socially distanced and Covid compliant, will feel the most safe way to purchase for some time and may initially be more popular than stuffy showrooms.
Let’s work together for everybody’s sake, regardless of long-held allegiances to one professional body or another, and create this broader, more accessible organisation.
I would only add to Michael’s excellent plan the suggestion that whoever holds the post of secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport be invited to take the post of honorary vice-president, and encouraged to attend events, so that we always have the politician in that role and most concerned with legislation that may affect us on board and within shouting distance.
Digger & Mojo, Wiltshire