1 How did you get your start?
I used to go to local auction houses as a child as my parents were avid buyers and collectors. When my eldest brother set up as a dealer in Brisbane, I was inspired by helping him to pack shipping containers.
2 Have you noticed any collecting trends in the past year?
At long last English furniture is becoming more popular, which is good news as it has been undervalued for many years. It is heartening to see home-produced pieces being appreciated once more.
3 What is one great discovery you have made?
I saw a framed carving lying on a table in an auction house and it spoke to me. The quality was outstanding. I was over the moon to be successful in the bidding and immediately started my research. It was signed Peake and dated 1895 so we had something to go on. It turns out that Peake was called the Grinling Gibbons of his time and won a medal at the Paris Exhibition of 1900.
As a resident of Lambeth, he was sponsored by the Archbishop of Canterbury, which led to friendship with King Edward VII. Although not the most expensive piece I have ever bought, this item is so beautifully carved it just draws you in.
4 What challenges does the trade face?
Where do you start? The cost-of-living crisis is drastically reducing disposable income. The huge rise in container charges and the never-ending burden of paperwork has made transporting goods internationally a nightmare.
The war in Ukraine has already caused massive disruption and made people worried for the future.
5 Real ale or espresso martini?
Champagne – preferably English.