Posts tagged ‘Roger Warner’

April 30, 2017

UGRLS Scholarship Scheme

Following Liv Powell’s (our UGRLS, Undergraduate Research and Leadership Scholarship, Scholar) blog post a couple of weeks ago we thought we would tell you a little more about the UGRLS Scheme. Liv will be working with us on the antique dealers research project and the antique dealer archives at the Brotherton Library Special Collections over the next 2 years, and we are very pleased indeed to have such an enthusiastic student!

The Laidlaw Scholarship scheme has been developed with very generous support from Lord Laidlaw, the businessman and philanthropist, who was educated at the University of Leeds.  Lord Laidlaw first developed the UGRLS scheme at the University of St. Andrews, and has now rolled out a programme of UGRLS at many more universities, including of course at the University of Leeds. Our Project ‘Objects Trajectories: Archives, Objects, Museums, in the Phillips of Hitchin & Roger Warner Archives’ was one of only SIX projects that were successful in the competitive funding round this year at the University of Leeds – so we are very pleased to have this extra support toward the future development of the Antique Dealers research project.

Liv will be working for 6 weeks each summer over the next 2 years, undertaking research on the Phillips of Hitchin and the Roger Warner archives, as well as working with Tim Proctor, Head of Engagement at the Brotherton Library Special Collections, on cataloguing and conservation and cleaning projects for the Phillips of Hitchin archives. We have lots of exciting plans for Liv – we hope, for example, that she will become a regular blogger on the Antique Dealers research blog, and she will be working with us on a number of developments for the dissemination of the research undertaken so far, and on some exciting projects on antique dealer exhibitions. Liv is also very skilled with Social Media (much more so that I am!), and has some great ideas for our digital media profiles…so watch this space!

Welcome to the team Liv!

Mark

 

 

March 8, 2016

In the Footsteps of Roger Warner

As some of the followers to the project blog will know, part of the growing legacy of the AHRC Antique Dealer project has been the donation of several highly significant antique dealer archives to the Brotherton Library Special Collections at the University of Leeds. The archive of the well-known antique dealer Roger Warner (1913-2008) is part of this growing corpus of antique dealer material coming to Leeds – all part of a broader research initiative focused on the histories of the art and antique markets, and under the auspices of our new Centre for the Study of the Art & Antiques Market. We have exciting plans for research activities based in the new Centre in the coming months and years so do keep an eye on the Centre!

Anyway, Roger Warner – I was in Burford to oversee the collection of the first part of the Roger Warner archive – which in an extraordinarily generous act has been donated to the University of Leeds by Roger’s family, Sue Ashton, Deborah Warner and Simon Warner – we cannot thank Sue, Deborah, Simon, and Sue’s husband, Hugo, enough for their generosity and for their enthusiastic support to this ever expanding project on the history of the antique trade.

Roger Warner ran his antique shop for almost 50 years, from 1936 to 1985, and was, as many of you will know, an iconic antique dealer (perhaps one of the most emblematic antiques dealers of the 20th century) – indeed, his autobiography ‘Roger Warner, Memoirs of a Twentieth Century Antique Dealer‘ was published by the Regional Furniture Society in 2003.

The archive will be an absolutely amazing resource and, once we have it all conserved and catalogued, will be available for future researchers, scholars and those interested in this highly significant part of social and cultural life.  The Warner archive is a fascinating and exceptionally detailed history of an antique dealer;  Warner was certainly an antiquary by inclination, recording minute details of the everyday business of a dealer – he even kept a record of the footfall in his shop each year!….His ‘Annual Review and Policy Reports’ produced every year, continuously from 1951-1985, (together with two earlier annual reviews for 1947 and 1949), are fascinating personal reflections on the previous year’s trading, with commentaries on the changing markets conditions, details of auctions visited, observations on other dealers, information on significant objects bought & sold, and summaries of business accounts – they will be a key resource for anyone studying the history of the antique trade in the 20th century.

To give you a flavour of the richness of the archive, and to draw attention to its potential significance, I’ve traced just one object in the archive from its acquisition by Warner to its eventual new home at Temple Newsam House, in Leeds. The object in question is the now famous Four-poster painted bed, made to commemorate the marriage of Francis and Anne Hall, 1724.

painted bed TN

Four-poster painted bed, 1724. Temple Newsam House, Leeds. Image by kind permission of Leeds Museums & Galleries. Copyright Leeds Museums & Galleries.

The bed was acquired by Temple Newsam House (Leeds Museums & Galleries) in 1979, following a grant from the Art Fund of £2,500, for £13,000 from the London antique dealers Jellinek & Sampson, then trading in Knightsbridge.  The Warner archive records that had he sold the bed to Jellinek & Sampson on 4th November 1978 for £2,500.

The Warner archive also records the acquisition of the bed in the stock book for 1977-78 on 4th January 1977, from ‘George Carr, Lilac Hse, Kirkbride’ (Cumbria), for the sum of £850 (see image). Warner also notes, in his annual review for 1978, ‘purchase and removal early in the new year Of painted oak Tester Bed from Kirkbride, Cumbria, the bed never having been moved since its erection in room in 1724.’ (see image).

RW stock book 1978

Roger Warner Archive. Stockbook 1977-78. The Brotherton Library Special Collections, University of Leeds, currently uncatalogued. Photograph AHRC Antique Dealers project. Copyright University of Leeds 2016.

RW review

Roger Warner Archive. ‘Annual Review 1978’. The Brotherton Library Special Collections University of Leeds, currently uncatalogued item. Photograph AHRC Antique Dealers Project. Copyright University of Leeds 2016.

These fascinating insights into the provenance of just one of the 70,500 objects that Roger Warner sold illustrate the rich potential of antique dealer archives, not just for provenance research, but also for the insights that they can reveal into the social and cultural practices of the, still as yet, unexplored history of the antique trade.

But whilst I was in Burford collecting the Warner archive I also had an opportunity to ‘walk in the footsteps’ of this extraordinary dealer – thanks to Sue Ashton, Roger’s daughter, and to Nicky, who with her partner Tim now owns Roger Warner’s shop, I was taken on a journey through the spaces of Roger’s old shop.

rw shop burford

Roger Warner antique shop, High Street, Burford. Warner traded here from 1936 until his retirement in 1985.

It was fascinating and illuminating to hear Sue reminisce about the activities that took place in the various rooms – the shop had been, after all, Sue’s home for much of her life. The interior spaces had changed over the years of course, but not substantially, and Sue recalled many happy memories of her father in the shop and home. I got a sense of how Warner had used the spaces of the shop through Sue’s recollections….and also got a sense of how he had furnished the private spaces of the house/shop through some of the photographs in the Warner archive – here is Roger’s bedroom, as it was in the 1980s.

rw bedroom

Roger Warner’s bedroom, High Street, Burford, undated photograph, but early c.1980s. Roger Warner archive, The Brotherton Library, University of Leeds, currently uncatalogued item. Photograph AHRC Antique Dealer project. Copyright University of Leeds 2016.

The tour of the shop was an extraordinary personal experience, and will be invaluable in navigating the richness of the Warner archive now at the University. Thank you Sue, and Nicky, for taking the time to walk in the footsteps of Roger Warner.

Oh and for those that never met Roger – and I regret I never did – we have, thanks to the Web, some recordings of Roger Warner from the TV show ‘Going for a Song’ – this was an early precursor to the hugely popular (and still going) Antiques Roadshow. Anyway, here is Roger Warner in a 1971 episode of ‘Going for a Song’ (with that other former doyen of the world of antiques, Arthur Negus).

Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yblWjTU7Vek

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xn5GAmLoWdo

Mark

 

 

May 29, 2015

Oral History Interviews continue…..

Our Oral History interviews with members of the antique trade are gathering pace – besides the notices of recently completed interviews (see previous blog posts), we’ve also undertaken two further interviews in the last weeks – One with Philip Astley-Jones, who, amongst other things, formerly worked with the famous dealer Roger Warner, in Burford – for those that know these things, as well as those that don’t, The Regional Furniture Society published ‘Roger Warner: memoirs of a twentieth century antique dealer’ in 2003 (RFJ, Volume XVII, 2003). Our other was with Leon Sassoon, of the well-known antique carpets and rugs dealers C. John

Our interview with Philip Astley-Jones was undertaken by our research fellow Lizzy Jamieson – Philip gave us some absolutely fascinating memories of his time with Roger Warner in his shop in Burford, Oxfordshire.

Philip Astley-Jones photo

Philip Astley-Jones, 2015. Photograph EJ (Antique Dealers Project, Leeds University).

Philip started with Roger Warner in 1965, and he gave us amazingly vivid descriptions of the day-to-day life in the shop, and the buying activities of Roger. As you may know, Roger Warner was famous for his acquisitions of the historic and the curious, and in the interview we heard of buying objects from great Country Houses such as Chastleton, in Oxfordshire – (now a National Trust House). Philip regaled us with lots of fascinating stories of other buying trips – including the amazing story of how Roger found the original Capability Brown map of Moccas Court, rolled up in a long tin canister on top of a bookcase at the house.

Philip left Roger Warner in 1976, moving to Los Angeles, then Amsterdam, before returning to London and taking over the well-known antique restorers, Hatfields.  In a wide ranging interview, Philip also reflected on the potential future for the antique trade – it’s a lovely interview, full of detail, and you will soon be able to listen to it via our project websites – so do keep an eye on developments.

 

Our other interview was undertaken by one of our most active project volunteer researchers, Chris Coles. Chris interviewed Leon Sassoon, of the specialist textiles and antique carpets and rugs dealer C. John who are now trading in South Audley Street, Mayfair, London.

Leon Sassoon

Leon Sassoon

In an absolutely fascinating interview Leon told us about the beginnings of the firm of C. John, which was started by Leon’s uncle in Oxford in 1933; see below for a photograph of the premises at 36 High Street, Oxford in the 1930s. Their shop in Oxford was eventually closed in 1976, to allow concentration on their shop in London.

C John rugs

C. John, 36 High Street, Oxford, 1930s. Photograph copyright C. John .

The business of C. John is world famous for antique carpets and rugs of course, but it was intriguing to hear that when the firm was initially set up by Mr John he was just as interested in antique furniture as he was in antique carpets – indeed, this interior photograph of the Oxford shop from 1945 illustrates the stock of furniture then held by C. John – as well as the firm’s well-known interest in carpets, tapestries and rugs.

C John Oxford 1945

C. John, interior of shop in Oxford, 1945. Image from ‘Antiques Yearbook’ 1945.

Leon also told us about his memories of the antique carpet trade since he started with his uncle in the late 1960s; during his time in the business many great carpet and textile dealers have gone – Mayorcas, Arditti, Vigo Galleries, Sternberg, Benardout, all great names in the history of the antique trade, are no longer with us. Indeed, C. John, along with S. Frances (est 1909) as Leon said, are the last of the great tapestry and antique carpet dealers. Leon tempered that by emphasizing that a new generation of carpet and textiles dealers have also emerged over the last years…so it’s not all doom and gloom!

In our interview, Leon also reflected on the changing landscape of the antique trade, and on his relationships with some major collectors of carpets, and with museums, over the last 50 years. The interview is a fascinating insight into a very specialist area of the antique trade, and we ‘re sure our interview with Leon will be a fantastic addition to the range of antique dealer interviews we are assembling as a result of the AHRC Antique Dealer project.

Mark.

 

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