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Caroline Penman: the art and antiques world will be changed post Covid.

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For historical reasons, some members of the two associations are against a merger.

Well, perhaps there could be a merger of another sort…

Michael Baggott’s ideas are brilliant (‘What’s really needed is a broader antiques council’, Letters, ATG 2482), and I agree with Clarissa Reilly (‘Yes, an ‘antiques council’ is exactly what the trade needs’ Letters, ATG 2483)… but how can we proceed from here?

Initially there has to be a meeting between BADA and LAPADA. This may be already under way, quietly?

We must surely all agree that the antiques (and art) world will be changed post Covid, and will need some enlightened terms of reference for future ways of dealing and laws safeguarding our heritage.

This enlightened body needs to stem from all parts of the antiques world, representing the broadest possible spectrum of interests, including dealers, salerooms, fair organisers, interior designers, restorers, shippers, insurers, museums and art galleries – everyone who deals with the visual and applied arts – all with the aim of helping/enhancing the value and benefit to the world of works of art in every medium.

Frighteningly broad-church! Impractical with so many differing angles.

This enormity would be unwieldy and impossible to police into any practicality. So, we start with a smaller selection of sensibly like-minded people involved in art and antiques.

Forward-thinking

We need to get on board some far-sighted administrators along with experienced dealers in various levels of the antiques and art trade – who are ready to speak out with authority for the best interests of antiques and art, and the UK’s dealing, understanding and appreciation thereof.

Obviously this would include lobbying re ivory, artists’ rights etc.

I suggest that some forward-thinking members of BADA and LAPADA’s councils and employees should get together and invite a few forward-thinking individuals – leading thinkers either independent or from other bodies representing the antiques trade, to a meeting of minds – with the aim of creating a unified voice to defend and uphold, enhance and promote fine art and antiques across the UK (and to reach out overseas once established in UK).

This meeting of minds would hopefully create a new body with a wide membership.

Thus an annual membership per person of £25 to £30 could quickly generate income to afford staffing and an office (or use the existing office of BADA or LAPADA) and form a General Council of leading influential thinkers.

This General Council could then set up specialist departments/branches for lobbying for different interests. But the council itself should become a well-respected fount of knowledge and wisdom capable of speaking out (and being listened to) in high places, for the betterment of the antiques and art world, initially in the UK.

I had hoped to advocate this body to be all-embracing, to cover every aspect of our world, BUT that would be an impossible task – one step at a time…

I implore BADA and LAPADA to talk together, and get on board various influential thinkers to put together a new body to speak out for our world.

Caroline Penman

Penman Fairs

Adding more voices

MADAM – What Michael Baggott proposes makes complete sense.

I have been in the art world for nearly 50 years but am not ‘big’ enough for any of the existing trade organisations like BADA and LAPADA and thus like, I suspect, thousands of others do not have a voice that carries any weight.

Any opinions I have are therefore unheard.

If I wrote to my MP my letter would go straight into the bin but a trade body with weight would be listened to.

Nicholas Skeaping

Lydford, Devon