Oral Histories making progress – interview with Andrew Burne

The oral history research strand in the Antique Dealers research project continues to make progress – we still have a HUGE list of people to talk to though!

In January, Chris Coles, one of our most active and supportive volunteer researchers, undertook an oral history interview recording with Andrew Burne, of the antique glass specialists W.G.T. Burne (Antique Glass) Limited. W.G.T. Burne are based in London, and were established by Andrew’s father in 1936.

Andrew Burne

Andrew Burne, of W.G.T. Burne (Antique Glass) Limited. Photo courtesy of Andrew Burne.

In a wide-ranging interview, Andrew told us about the early history of W.G.T. Burne – his father initially worked for the well-known specialist glass dealer, and author, Arthur Churchill, before setting up on his own in 1936. Andrew also shared his memories of other specialist glass dealers, including Delomosne and Maureen Thompson. There were also fascinating stories about buying trips taken with his father, and the early morning starts to buy in the antique markets at Bermondsey and Portobello in London….as well as an occasion when the actor and singer Dean Martin came into the shop. W.G.T. Burne sold many things to major collectors and museums, and also sold chandeliers to The White House, and Buckingham Palace.

Amongst the ‘good finds’ that Andrew remembered was one of a set of early 18th century glass chandeliers, originally from Lincoln Assembly Rooms, which were bought from an auction at Christie’s South Kensington – the chandelier is now in the collections of Saint Louis Art Museum, in the USA. In the interview, Andrew recalled that the chandelier was sold by W.G.T. Burne to Hotspur, but it seems that the eventual dealer who sold the object to Saint Louis Art Museum (in 1993) was H. Blairman & Sons (see provenance information on the chandelier on the Saint Louis Art Museum Collections online).  Here’s a photograph of the chandelier from the museum website – and it’s a spectacular thing!

lincoln assembly room chandelier

Glass Chandelier, c.1740, from Lincoln Assembly Rooms. Saint Louis Art Museum. Funds given by Mr and Mrs Joseph Pulitzer and museum purchase, 1993. Image from Saint Louis Art Museum website.

An edited version of the oral history interview with Andrew (and all of the oral history interviews) will be available soon via the Antique Dealer project website.

Mark

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