Archive for February, 2015

February 22, 2015

More on Connell & Sons, Glasgow – and BADA

We’ve discovered a bit more about James Connell & Sons (the ‘Art Dealers’) in Glasgow (see earlier blog post on Connell).  Thanks to Mark Dodgson, Secretary General, and Riley Grant, membership Secretary, at The British Antique Dealers’ Association (BADA) who very kindly emailed us a PDF copy of the full catalogue for the ‘Art Treasures Exhibition 1932’. The exhibition, ‘under the auspices of The British Antique Dealers’ Association’, was held at Christie’s auction rooms in King Street, London, October 12th to November 5th, 1932.

There are lots of fascinating things in the catalogue itself, not least the kind of stock that antique dealers sold in the 1930s – but there’s too much to outline here in a short blog post! However, amongst the exhibitors was our friend ‘James Connell & Sons’ – at this date trading at 26 Old Bond Street, London, and also at 75 Vincent Street, Glasgow.

As readers of this Blog will know, we regularly highlight the overlapping trading practices of the ‘Antique Trade’, and drew attention to the fact that James Connell & Sons, were, conventionally at least, classified as ‘Picture Dealers’ – and you’ll know that we disrupted the smoothness of such classificatory parameters in our earlier Blog post on an exhibition catalogue of ‘A Few Examples of Old Furniture of Fine Character and Quality’ that Connell & Sons staged at their Glasgow gallery in c.1915 (see earlier blog post).

In the ‘Art Treasures’ exhibition of 1932 Connell also exhibited objects…but again, not paintings, but ‘antiques’ – including ‘A George II stool c.1745’; See image here – sorry about the poor quality- connell

They also exhibited ‘A George II mahogany chest of drawers, c.1755’, and ‘A Balloon bracket clock, c.1790’ – and despite there being a small section at the exhibition devoted to pictures, Connell & Sons did not contribute to that section of the exhibition. So, it seems, on this evidence at least, that Connell & Sons continued to trade in antique furniture from at least c.1915, up to the 1930s, and whilst all the time classified at ‘art dealers’.

This is not to say of course that other ‘picture dealers’ did not also sell ‘antiques’, nor of course that ‘antique dealers’ did not sell pictures….but maybe it points towards a more complex network of overlapping practices that are not captured by the trading classifications of ‘art dealer’, ‘antique dealer’ and etc…and, as you know, part of the objective of the current research project is to explore these shades of grey (there’s an up to date allusion for you!) –  the umbra, penumbra and antumbra of the antique trade…

Mark

 

February 15, 2015

More on the changing landscape of the antique trade

More news on the changing landscape of the antique trade (see blog posts on ‘Bullard’ October 2014, and the changing face of Mount Street in London, October 2014, as well as a post on the ‘Changing Landscape’ in November 2013). Yet another well-known, and long established dealership, has withdrawn from the high street. Arthur Brett & Sons, Norwich, who were established in 1860, are finally closing their shop at 42 Giles Street, Norwich.  James Brett, the great-grandson of Jonathan Brett, the founder of the firm, is the third generation of the family business, and is finally giving up the shop – although James is not actually retiring.  He will continue to trade, but not from retail premises – this, as readers of this blog will know, rehearses a pattern of changing practices in the antique trade that began in the opening decade of the 21st century.

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The Brett family of antique dealers. Copyright Brett family & Sworders Auctioneers, courtesy of Sworders.

This picture (above) of the Brett family is from the forthcoming auction sale of the contents on 42 Giles Street, undertaken by Sworders at their Standsted auction room on Tuesday 17th February 2015 – (and thanks to Diane Baynes for very kindly emailing a PDF of the introductory pages to the auction catalogue!) There is also an interesting report on the forthcoming auction and the history of the Brett family of dealers, with some comments from James Brett, by Anna Brady in the ‘Dealers’ Diary’ pages in the Antique Trade Gazette this week – see ATG.

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Sworders auction catalogue of the Brett Collection, 17th Feb 2015. Copyright Sworders. Courtesy of Sworders.

Sworders sold the contents of the workshops of Brett & sons in 2010, and this final ‘clearing out’ of the showrooms is symptomatic of the changes to the practices of certain parts of the trade; the ‘End of an Era’?…maybe, but ‘change’ has, as this research project is discovering, always been part of the history of the antique trade.

Mark

February 14, 2015

Mallett & Son Antiques – dealer ephemera from the 1890s and 1990s.

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A collection of Mallett Antiques sales catalogues, 1990s.

Materials related to the antique trade continue to be donated to the project – thank you again dealers! John Smith, a very good friend to the project, posted us a stack of old dealership catalogues – from the leading London antique dealers Mallett & Sons, and dating from the 1990s. The catalogues are, of course, relatively common, and can be picked up at second-hand book shops (and indeed charity shops) anywhere in the country – BUT, what makes the catalogues that John has kindly posted to us unique is that these are marked and annotated staff copies, with prices marked (and whether the objects were sold) of the objects illustrated. These are a fantastic resource on pricing structures (in the 1990s) for a leading dealership – there are also cost prices and suggested sale prices in some of the catalogues (I’m not revealing those here of course….the analysis of that is part of the research into the history of the discrete (and discreet!) practices of the antique trade itself).

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Mallett catalogue, 1990s.

The pages in the catalogues are fascinating though – here’s a page from one of the catalogues (dated 1997), and labelled in pen, in the top right-hand corner on the cover as ‘Nicholle’s’) – which illustrates as ‘Queen Anne walnut wing chair, c.1710’, and priced at £80,000 – marked in red ‘SOLD’; and a ‘needlework panel, c.1710, framed in a modern low table’, priced at £19,500.

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Mallett catalogue, 1990s.

And, another (above) – left page – ‘French, early 19th century cache pots, 1800/1820’, priced at £15,000 (top) and £24,000 (bottom) – the bottom pair are marked ‘SOLD’; and (right page) a ‘pair of 18th century Chinese parrots’ at £7,500. Changing fashions in antiques, even in so short a time ago as the 1990s, may have made some of these prices look quite ambitious, and some look like bargains…..

Mallett of course are still trading (see Mallett Antiques) – they were established in 1865, in the West Country (in Bath, Avon….Mallett’s are now, as many readers will know, owned by Stanley Gibbons Group, and celebrate 150 years this year!…I hope there’s a party?) – anyway, I thought it would be interesting to show some early ephemera associated with Mallett.

Here’s an invoice (below) from ‘Mallett & Son’, dated 1900, to ‘H.F. Swann Esq.’ The invoice describes, amongst other things, a ‘Chest of Chippendale drawers’, sold for ‘£2’, together with ‘a Chippendale table’, (£5). Mallett were at this date trading from 36, 37 & 43 Milsom Street, Bath, and described themselves as ‘Dealers in New and Antique English and Oriental Jewellery, Plate & Objets d’Art’.

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Invoice from Mallett & Son, dated 1900. Copyright Private collection.

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Invoices from Mallett & Son, c.1899-1920. Copyright Private collection.

The invoice is one a small cache of invoices (see above) from Mallett dating from c.1899 to c.1920 that are currently part of a private collection – but will be donated to the antique dealer project in due course. This small collection also gives a fascinating insight into the early history of one of the world’s most important ‘Antique Dealers’.

Mark

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