Tom Mendel with Michiel van Overbeek’s (c.1650-1719) The Pyramid of Cestius (sold to the Cleveland Museum of Art, 2021).

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1 How did you get your start?

I left my job at an auction house just a few weeks into the very first lockdown, so had little choice but to use what I had learned from that – much sooner than I had ever expected!

2 What is your next event?

The Open Art Fair in Duke of York Square from April 19-23, where I’ll be showing a range of more figurative pieces than my usual topographical remit; followed by London Art Week, where I’ll be presenting a catalogue on the theme of ‘Travel’, with works from the early 17th century to the end of the 19th century.


The Village & Château d’Agimont (1597) by Adrien De Montigny (fl.1590-1610), from the Albums de Croÿ, available for £50,000.

3 What is one great discovery you have made?

One I am particularly proud of was an extremely rare botanical drawing by the English artist Alexander Marshal (c.1620-82): it was one of fewer than 10 sheets by the artist in private hands, unseen since the 18th century, and was totally uncatalogued when it came to auction in Paris. I am indebted to the two academics who helped me identify it, though!

4 What is one item you couldn’t do without?

A Swiss Army Knife - getting past the frame to the verso of drawings, which usually hasn’t been examined for decades, can yield a remarkable amount of information right away.

5 What is the best fictional depiction of the art world in the media?

It may not quite qualify, but Peter Ustinov’s brilliant impression of a Dutch art historian, who discovers an unpublished Pieter de Hooch in a ducal house, is one of the most accurate spoofs of the art world that has ever been conceived.

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