Having been in the antiques trade for almost seventy wonderful years, I find it hard to avoid the temptation to reflect on the enormous changes that have been, and continue to take place.
I am fortunate to have known some of the pre-war eminent antiques dealers and colorful characters now long gone and often reflect on some of their timeless words of wisdom for a ‘new kid on the block’ starting out back in the 1950s.
Here are just a few words of communal wisdom in no particular order:
- Enjoy the journey in what is possibly the best job in the world.
- Hard work and long hours on the road can be very rewarding.
- Study history and the history of art – don’t stop studying just because you have left school and uni.
- Buy only what appeals to you rather than simply following trends, or indeed focusing solely on the commercial aspects of which antique furniture to buy and sell.
- Examine auction catalogues only after you have viewed to avoid conditioning; also beware of euphemisms and caveats. Bear in mind the circa 40% additional costs beyond the hammer.
- Cultivate ample reserves of patience. Share your knowledge.
- Visit as many National Trust collections as possible… A great way to enjoy a break and add pleasure to long days on the road.
- Buy the best examples that you can afford.
- You will inevitably make some mistakes along the way but never pass these on to a client. (Auctioneers will generally accept these for inclusion in a future sale).
Special thanks to a few old friends for some inspiration, inter alia Axel Vervoordt, Henry Rubin, John Keil, Lennox Cato, Monty Sainsbury, Howard Oliver, John Butterworth, Robert Kime, all the museum curators, and far too many more to mention here.
Some of the Box House team enjoying Bath:
In association with: maasinteriors.co.uk
Interior Designer Suzy Maas lives in Lymington in the beautiful New Forest, Hampshire. Suzy can travel to London if required and covers most of the South.
Some recommended reading:
Amongst so many more
Historic buildings and houses in the UK:
National Trust (https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk)