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 Yet another well-known, and long established dealership, has withdrawn from the high street.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

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