Dealer David Horton took a stand at Camden Passage when starting out.

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1 How did you get your start?

I had always been interested in art and antiques from an early age. Many days were spent in the Victoria & Albert Museum or with my parents going to antiques fairs – something few children would wish to do these days.

In 1975 I took a stand at Camden Passage. I was too young for a Saturday job, and I had a few effects of my late grandfather’s to fill the stall. It was a good day: fresh stock always attracts keen buyers. I made some money. Now I had to spend it to make some more.

Fast forward more than 40 years and I have had six premises. I was in Richmond the longest, at 25 years, but I was also at Moorgate in the City of London, where we had a gallery in the basement, and Piccadilly Arcade. Currently I share premises in Kensington Church Street with Persis Jewels. The shop is in a great position towards the High Street end.

2 What projects have you been working on recently?

I’ve purchased a number of works by the Borough Group artist Dorothy Mead (1928-1975) and am preparing them to show. She is a very underrated artist. In the 1960s she exhibited with David Hockney and Bridget Riley, and she was the first female president of The London Group. Her full potential was cut short by untimely death at the age of 46.


Dorothy Mead, Recumbent Figure, 1962, priced £12,000 from David Horton.

3 What is one great discovery you have made?

Luckily quite a few but one that I am proud of is a large bronze bust of the poet Shelley by Amelia Robertson Hill (1820-1904). I discovered the bust in a general sale. It was fully signed Amelia R Hill 1882 but the catalogue read Amelia as the title and R.Hill as the artist. After a little research I realised it was the female sculptor Amelia Hill and from there the subject fell into place.

It was purchased from me by Tate Britain and is currently on display in the Historic and Early Modern British Art section.

4 What is your favourite appearance of an antique in a film, play or book?

The Goya portrait of the Duke of Wellington hanging in Blofeld’s lair, in the 1967 Bond film Dr No. The painting was missing at the time and all sorts of stories circulated about its whereabouts.

5 Real ale or espresso martini?

Gin and tonic.

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