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Humphrey Butler, formerly of Christie’s and Sotheby’s, has joined the Dickinson Group and will be based in Jermyn Street, next to the Simon C. Dickinson London offices. He will carry a small stock to show to clients, but no retail showrooms are planned.

Mr Butler told the Antiques Trade Gazette that he aimed to offer a “realistic alternative to the salerooms” and said he saw plenty of opportunities in offering fine jewellery alongside the established Dickinson picture business.

“There are three main strands to the business,” he explained. “I will be available to act for individual clients who like to conduct business away from the public space of the salerooms. I will be doing a certain amount of day-to-day dealing, buying and selling at auction and in the Trade, and I will be taking the opportunity to have a presence at the major shows, not only in the UK, but at important US events like the Palm Beach Fair.”

Humphrey Butler, who was with Christie’s from the 1970s until 1998 and at Sotheby’s as a senior director for a brief period last year, joins two other former auctioneers: Simon Dickinson, who left Christie’s in 1993 to start his own Old Master business with David Ker, and James Roundell, the Impressionist and Modern specialist, who joined the firm from Christie’s in 1995.