Charles Mackay of The Weiss Gallery.

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1 How did you get your start?

I didn’t really know anyone in the art world per se. After studying history of art and following internships at Bonhams and Lyon & Turnbull in Edinburgh, I made the trip over the border to work for Mark Weiss. He took me under his wing and this autumn will mark the 10th year I’ve been at the gallery.

We are about to do two mini-shows for London Art Week: in the main gallery we’ll be exhibiting 18th century portraits by British artists who worked abroad. In our Long Gallery we’ll have a cluster of works by Cornelius Johnson, who is a gallery favourite. We are also publishing a second edition of a catalogue we made when I first started at the gallery.

2 What is one great discovery you’ve made?

Several years ago we bought an unattributed full-length portrait of an unidentified man from the early 1600s on account of its apparent quality. After identifying the sitter as Gerard Reynst, who was one of the first directors of the VOC, and deciphering the hand of the portrait’s artist, Frans Badens, it was requested for an important show at the Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid about Rembrandt and other portrait painters based in Amsterdam during the ‘Golden Age’.


The portrait of a man who was identified as Gerard Reynst, one of the first directors of the VOC.

That experience reaffirmed to me why it’s always important to reevaluate objects with curiosity in mind and that the trade will forever play a pivotal role in keeping art history alive.

3 One item you couldn’t do without?

My AirPods. London is an extraordinary place to live and work, but it can be overstimulating at times, so I like to set my own soundtrack to the city.

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

I really enjoyed reading The Vanishing Man by Laura Cumming, which concerns a Victorian man’s obsession about finding the lost portrait of Charles I by Velazquez. A portrait of the king by Daniel Mytens, which Mark handled and sold in the 1990s, was featured prominently in the narrative.

5 Real ale or espresso martini?

Though I’m not one to turn down an espresso martini, I’d rather a negroni!