1 Dealing runs in your family. Who specialises in what?
My mum and I were partners for 49 years starting in the 1980s. I learned an awful lot from her and she was an inspiration. My husband has been a picture dealer for 60 years and my son James has followed in the family footsteps.
He specialises in the Chinese market, and if I say so myself he has become a bit of an expert. He is self-taught in a difficult market that – I will put my hands up – I find extremely tricky to judge. With dealing you don’t always make a lot of money, but if you love it you wouldn’t do anything else.
2 What are some recent trends you have noticed?
People are still very interested in antiques, thank goodness. Porcelain and glass sales have picked up recently especially among private collectors who are happy to start a new collection or add to an old one.
Pictures are also very popular right across the board. They are good value given what people pay for Modern pictures and prints in the Contemporary galleries. Old pictures are sensibly priced and they’ll keep their value. At the last Decorative fair we sold around 30.
At the same event I sold around 14 pieces of good brown furniture when usually for me it’s more like six. In the past year or so, basically since the world reopened, there’s been a surge for solid brown furniture of good design and colour.
3 What is one great discovery you’ve made?
There have been many. In my 20s I bought a full set of vintage figures of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs made by Chad Valley in soft felt. I really pushed the boat out and bought them for about £30. They sold for about £500 which was a lot of money in the ‘70s.
4 What do you collect personally?
I still get tempted by something quirky or of particularly fine quality. In the 1970s I collected Clarice Cliff when it was more affordable than today. I bought the whole collection for not a lot of money but I wouldn’t be tempted to buy it for the money it costs now.
5 Real ale or espresso martini?
I’m not an ale drinker. I do love my cappuccino but I wouldn’t say no to an espresso martini.
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