Posts tagged ‘antiques roadshow’

August 15, 2015

Oral History Interviews – Lennox Cato

We did another of our growing corpus of antique dealer project Oral History interviews the other week – and with another ‘BBC Antiques Roadshow‘ presenter – this time with Lennox Cato of Lennox Cato Antiques in Edenbridge, Kent.

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Lennox Cato. Photograph courtesy and copyright of Lennox Cato Antiques, 2015.

In a fascinating and wide-ranging interview, recorded at his antique galleries in Edenbridge, Lennox told us of his very early introduction to the antiques trade – he was adopted at an early age by the well-known Brighton based antique dealer ‘Dicky’ Compton and his wife – as well as the history of his own time in the business since he opened his first shop in The Lanes, Brighton, in 1978.

As many of you will know, Lennox has become a regular expert (especially on antique furniture) on the popular BBC programme ‘Antiques Roadshow’, as well as being a very active member of the British Antique Dealers’ Association.

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Lennox Cato in investigative mood. Photograph courtesy and copyright of Lennox Cato Antiques, 2015.

In our interview Lennox reflected on his 35+ years in the trade, and had some enlightening observations of the structure of the antique trade and his perspectives on being one of the very few (the only?) Black ethnic members of the antique trade (at least at this senior level of the trade).  This, for us involved in the research project, is particularly interesting; our study is of what one might call the ‘ecology’ of the antique trade, and is one of the key research themes within the AHRC funded project. Indeed, whilst we are not explicitly tracing the quantitative metrics of the Black and other ethnic demographics of the trade (we’ll leave that for an extension to the current research project), our interactive website is tracking the shifting gender composition of the antique trade over the course of the 20th century – so we will have some data on the changing patterns of men and women dealers 1900-2000.

But anyway, our interview with Lennox has yet to be edited, but will, like all of our oral history interviews, be available for everyone to listen to through our project websites – keep your eyes on the ‘News’ from the ‘Antiques Dealers’ project.

Thank you again to Lennox for taking time out of his very busy schedule to do our research interview.

Mark

 

 

 

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June 5, 2015

Busy two weeks for Oral History interviews!

As part of this packed week or so of oral history interviews (see previous blog posts) we managed to track down Christopher Payne and he very generously gave us some time out of his own very busy schedule. Lizzy Jamieson, our Project Research Fellow interviewed Christopher in London a couple of weeks ago. As you probably know, Christopher has been a regular presenter on the BBC Antiques Roadshow since 1985 – our project can now boast two Antiques Roadshow presenters…Chris Jussel, who we interviewed in March (see earlier blog post), also fronted the USA version of the Antiques Roadshow for many years!

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Christopher Payne. 2015. Photo EJ Antique Dealer Project.

In an absolutely fascinating interview, Christopher told us about his grandfather’s Antiques and Modern furniture business, which began in the 19th century, and by the 1960s was employing 100 people. The business was continued by Christopher’s father, Tony Payne, who in 1968, decided to close the furniture-making and retail business and concentrate on the antiques side of the business, focused at ‘Wylton Antiques’ in Melton Mowbray.

 

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Wylton Antiques, Melton Mowbray, late 1960s. Photograph courtesy of Christopher Payne. Copyright Christopher Payne.

 

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Wylton Antiques, Melton Mowbray, shop interior, late 1960s. Photograph courtesy of Christopher Payne. Copyright Christopher Payne.

Christopher also told us about his own history; his first job at Sotheby’s in 1970, and had some fascinating observations on the auction world more generally, and on insights into the ‘vetting’ processes whilst he sat on the vetting committees of many of the major antique fairs.  As you also may know, Christopher is author of the definitive book on the furniture designer and maker Linke. The interview provides us with a very rich series of memories, illustrative of more than 50 years of experience in the ‘world of antiques’.

Mark

March 30, 2015

Oral History Interview with Chris Jussel

Thanks to Chris Jussel, formerly of Vernay & Jussel, and J.J. Wolff Antiques in New York, for coming to meet me in Boston MA to do an oral history interview as part of the Antique Dealers research project. The interview with Chris will be part of the growing archive of oral history interviews with members of the antique trade that will be made available via the project websites soon. As well as being one of the most prominent antique dealers in America, Chris, as you probably know, was also formerly the presenter on the USA version of ‘Antiques Roadshow’, as well as Vice President of Sotheby’s Trust and Estates Division (1999-2003) and Vice President of Samuel T. Freeman & Co auctioneers between 2007-2009 – he is currently a private art and antiques consultant. Here’s Chris, in the little apartment I’ve rented for my short stay in Boston –

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Chris Jussel, in Boston, March 2015.

Chris told us about the early beginnings of Arthur Vernay, who opened his antique gallery in New York in c.1906; by 1925 Vernay had a 5 storey building filled with antiques and was one of the most important dealers in New York in the period.  Vernay, was actually born in England, in Weymouth we believe, so the links to the British trade here are important.  Chris also allowed me to copy a set of fabulous B&W photographs of the interiors of Arthur Vernay’s house at 51 Berkeley Square, London, taken during the late 1920s – the images are a potent illustration of the taste for furnishing with antiques in the 1920s. Here’s some of the photographs –

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Arthur Vernay, 51 Berkeley Square, London house interior, c.1929. Image courtesy of Chris Jussel.

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Arthur Vernay, 51 Berkeley Square, London house interior, c.1929. Image courtesy of Chris Jussel.

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Arthur Vernay, 51 Berkeley Square, London house interior, c.1929. Image courtesy of Chris Jussel.

The interview with Chris was fascinating and wide ranging – he told us about the history of his father joining the firm of Arthur Vernay in 1928, and then how the business was continued by his father after Vernay retired in 1940 – before Chris joined the firm in 1972 and renamed the business Vernay & Jussel. Chris consolidated the business in 1978 with the purchase of the then well established dealership J.J. Wolff.  Chris closed the business in 1994 to develop other extensive business interests.

Amongst other antique dealers that Chris recalled were Partridge & Sons, French & co and Stair – some of the most important English furniture dealers in the history of the antique trade.  Chris also told us about the complex practices and processes of the antique trade in the period – including some fascinating anecdotes about dealers such as ‘Charles of London’ (Charles Duveen – see previous blog post for some further info on Charles) and many other characters in the trade. The interview will be a very valuable contribution to the evolving history of the antique trade!

Mark

 

 

 

 

The Period Room: Museum, Material, Experience

An International Conference hosted by The Bowes Museum and The University of Leeds

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art writing * art works * art market

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A research project investigating the history of the antiques trade in Britain in the 20th century