A pink cheese dish which was posted by dealer Emma Duveen on Instagram.

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

Today casual scrolling can lead to the discovery – and purchase – of eye-catching items. Here are two tales of recent acquisitions.

Say cheese, or cupcake

I was scrolling through my Instagram feed (an activity I conduct on a daily basis) and I spotted a pretty scene of cakes and crockery, writes Laura Chesters.

This beautiful pink cheese dish caught my eye. Did I need a cheese dome? Had I been longing for a stilton dish? No. But when I saw it, I had to have it.

It had been posted by dealer Emma Duveen whom I follow on Instagram. She posts some of her stock online so I sent her a direct message, we spoke and I bought it for £175.

I do not know much about its history but it is decorated with line-drawn scenes from classical mythology and is likely to date to c.1860-70. To collect the dish I enlisted family members. Emma lives in Surrey, not far from my cousins in Godalming. It was delivered there, then my aunt picked it up and I eventually collected it from her in Farnham. It now has pride of place at home and I use it for cupcakes rather than cheese.

I asked Emma how she got involved in selling on Instagram. She replied: “I was doing about 10 fairs a year including Battersea and Olympia, then Covid happened and there were no shows. As I had been doing all the fairs, my website was not a selling vehicle. So when Covid hit, overnight I lost my business.

“My then teenagers said ‘what about selling on Instagram?’. I hadn’t even thought about it. My daughter showed me some interior designer accounts and I thought ‘Right, OK. I will have a go’.

“It is very time consuming but I learned over time and it became very worthwhile. Every dealer should take it seriously and have a social media presence. Even when I returned to fairs I sold things from my stand via Instagram.

“You must remember that you have to post something fresh and new each time. When you are looking for stock for Instagram you have to look for something striking and stylistically strong. But transparency, condition and price are equally important.”


Fall in love with a frog


A Copeland jug modelled as a turquoise frog which was posted by dealer Serhat Ahmet on Instagram.

European porcelain specialist Serhat Ahmet deals from a shop in London’s Cecil Court, but, like many dealers today, he lists some of his freshest stock on Instagram, writes Frances Allitt.

After posting a small Copeland aesthetic movement jug modelled as a turquoise frog on a gilded ball, he was surprised to receive a message on the app from an acquaintance who did not collect antiques. The interested party was taken with the beauty of the tiny item, which measured just 6cm high.

Ahmet says: “They fell in love with it and were delighted to discover that something in perfect condition from c.1875 could be bought for £180. They said that they ‘just had to have it’.”

The jug is perhaps atypical of most of his stock – European porcelain in the four-figure range – but it sold fast.

Only two days elapsed between the posting of the item and the sale.