Posts tagged ‘trade practices’

February 15, 2015

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 Yet another well-known, and long established dealership, has withdrawn from the high street.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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May 30, 2014

Antique Dealing….and other practices

The history of the trade in antiques is composed of a complex mixture of overlapping practices and activities. In the early 19th century, when we can say that the present trade began, antique and curiosity dealers emerged from the furniture-making community, from the ‘rag-trade’, the second -hand trade more generally, and modern china and glass sellers….amongst others…. ..if you’re interested, see my work A Biographical Dictionary of 19th Century Antique and Curiosity Dealers (Regional Furniture Society, 2009 & 2011 – copies still available!…£20…(sorry about the advert!….) – But anyway, historically, the trade has always comprised a series of interrelated selling and manufacturing practices.  Indeed, during the course of the investigations for the current project and the history of the antique trade in the 20th century these overlapping practices continued – here’s just one example of the practices of ‘antique dealing’ operating alongside other activities – some of these are obvious (interior decorating for example, and furniture making…which many dealers today are involved in). But antique dealers have also regularly sold a range of ‘modern’ things alongside what one might describe as ‘traditional’ antiques (the notion of ‘antique’ is quite obviously a mutable term!).

Anyway, Martin Levy (of Blairman & Sons, London) sent us this image of a tea-cup and saucer, which was apparently retailed by Blairman, when the firm was then trading in Llandudno, Wales (they had a shop there from the 1880s).

Photograph copyright Blairman & Sons, London

Photograph copyright Blairman & Sons, London

Photograph copyright, Blairman & Sons, London.

Photograph copyright, Blairman & Sons, London.

We reckon the tea-cup and saucer dates from c.1890-1910, so would have been a ‘modern’ thing when sold by Blairman at the time. The retailing of ‘contemporary’ products is interesting, especially given the recent shift to the contemporary and the changes in the activities of, what were often considered to be ‘traditional’ dealerships – it’s now not that unusual to enter an ‘antique shop’ and be confronted by modern and contemporary design amongst the ‘brown furniture’ and ‘antique’ objects…..

There are many other examples of other practices that the antique trade have been involved in over the years and we hope to include information of these activities as part of our ‘cultural geography’ of the antique trade…

Mark

 

 

The Period Room: Museum, Material, Experience

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

H. Blairman & Sons Ltd

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

Museum Studies Now?

'Museum Studies Now?' is an event which aims to discuss and debate museum and heritage studies education provision.

The Burlington Magazine Index Blog

art writing * art works * art market

East India Company at Home, 1757-1857

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