Posts tagged ‘Mallett & Sons’

May 16, 2017

New Oral History Interview – Lanto Synge, from Mallett & Sons

Our latest Oral History Interview took place last week, with Lanto Synge in the interviewee chair. The interview was conducted by our lead project volunteer, Chris Coles (thank you again Chris!) and is part of our continued efforts to capture the Voices from the Trade as part of the ‘BADA Voices’ extension to the Oral History project (thanks again to the BADA for their support). 

Lanto, as many of you will know, worked at the world-famous antique dealers Mallett & Sons for almost 40 years, after joining the firm in 1969, rising through the ranks to ultimately become Chief Executive of the firm in 1997; Lanto eventually retired in 2009.

Lanto Synge, formerly of Mallet & Sons (Antiques). Photograph courtesy of Lanto Synge.

Catalogue from Mallett & Son, 1930s.

In this absolutely absorbing interview Lanto recalls the history of Mallet & Sons – they are one of the oldest antique dealing firms in the world, established in 1865 by John Mallett in Milsom Street, Bath, Somerset. During the interview Lanto reflected on his memories of working at the firm during the 1960s-1990s and describes the changes in marketing practices, the displays in the galleries (there were 28 rooms of antique furniture and objects in Mallett’s Bond Street showrooms by the time Lanto retired in 2009); he also recalls the various individuals involved in the business over the period he worked at Mallett.

Lanto was also instrumental in the development of Mallett’s antique business in Australia and during the interview he reflects on the expanding business for antiques in the 1980s.  There are some fascinating memories on many leading dealers and collectors, as well as observations on the role of the antique fair (especially The Grosvenor House Fair) in the developing antique trade.

Lanto is also a leading expert and author on the subject of antique textiles, and his enthusiasm, and expertise, is clearly expressed in a series of engaging reflections on the development of his interest in antique textiles and tapestries.  Our interview with Lanto, as with all of the other Oral History interviews we have undertaken for the Antique Dealers Research Project, will be edited and made available in due course.

Thank you again to Lanto and Chris Coles for taking the time to expand our Oral History strand of the research project.

Mark

 

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October 21, 2016

The Generosity of Auctioneers – more archive material from Sworders

Tim Turner from Sworders Fine Art Auctioneers, Stansted Mountfitchet, very kindly donated some antique dealer related material to the Antique Dealer research project – and thanks to Jacqueline Travell, also from Sworders, for bringing the package of materials all the way from Essex to Leeds last week (Jacqueline was up North to see her son, who coincidently is studying at the University of Leeds).

It is through the exceptionally generous nature of people like Tim and Jacqueline that the research project at the University of Leeds continues to progress – thank you Tim, Jacqueline, and Sworders. The material that has been donated ranges from a selection of Antique Fair handbooks, dealer catalogues, and antique collecting publications – dating from 1909 to the 1970s.sworders

The materials also include an amazing selection of invoices (dating from the 1940s-1970s) from a wide variety of Antique Dealers; these are invaluable to the research project – they give us, for example, key self-designated descriptions of the dealers themselves, dealer addresses, as well as often having detailed information on the people involved in the various businesses, not to mention the fascinating ways in which a variety of ‘antiques’ are described in the old invoices. dealer-invoices-sworders

Included in the materials are also some early antique dealer catalogues – one from Mallett & Son, dating from the 1930s – mallett

and one from The Parker Gallery (print dealers, rather than antique dealers per se), which seems to have been produced as a booklet celebrating 200 years of trading – The Parker Gallery was established in 1750, so the booklet suggests. parker-gallery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the most interesting documents in the parcel of archive material, is a very early (probably 1920s?) furniture catalogue produced by the antique dealers and reproduction furniture makers, Arthur Brett & Sons – trading from Norwich. The booklet, titled, ‘Period Furniture’ contains a very wide range of reproduction furniture that Brett & Sons were manufacturing in the 1920s and 1930s.

brett

The catalogue is ordered chronologically, with ‘Tudor’ oak furniture in the opening pages, and includes reproductions of virtually every kind of antique furniture that was fashionable in the period. brett-1 brett-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Brett catalogue demonstrates how popular furnishing with antique furniture was during the period between the Wars, with demand outstripping supply to the extent where reproductions filled the gap, satisfying the look of the old. It’s quite striking when one reflects on this today, with the rapid shift to the contemporary in the last decade or so – no doubt there are now masses of reproductions of Charles Eames chairs, instead of Thomas Chippendale – tastes change, but everything stays the same!

Anyway, thanks again to Tim and Jacqueline, and Sworders – the archive materials are already proving useful to the research project as we add more and more antique dealer data to the Project Interactive Map.

Mark

February 14, 2015

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

Mallett cats

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).

Mallett cats 2

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.

mallett cats 1

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’.

Mallett inv 1901

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

Mallett invoices

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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