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Mr Law, who left Dreweatt's at the end of April, takes with him Albert Amor Ltd., the London dealership specialising in 18th century English porcelain which Dreweatt Neate acquired in autumn 1998 and which he in turn has now purchased from Dreweatt’s. Albert Amor is now to become part of the Special Auction Services group.

Together Law and Hilton aim to expand Special Auction Services, already known for its sales of commemoratives, pot lids and other ceramic collectables, by developing what they term “a centre of excellence for ceramics”, holding regular specialist auctions.

“I believe that a move towards total specialisation in ceramics by establishing a centre of excellence is the future,” said Mark Law, commenting on the developments.

Andrew Hilton has carved out a successful niche with his sales of ceramic collectables but he told the Antiques Trade Gazette that he felt “we have got as far in that field as we can go”.

“I have always believed ceramics to be a mainstream auction subject, yet underestimated,” he said. He hopes the new specialised ceramics service will include themed sales and, aided by Mark Law’s arrival, aims to effect the expansion by capitalising on what he termed Special Auction Services’ “emphasis on personal service”. “We want to replicate what it does. It’s not going to be an uphill trial. It’s an extension of what we do already,” he said.

Albert Amor has a staff of three: Anne George, Paul Crane and Suzanne Hughes. As with its previous ownership by an auctioneer, when it was stressed that Amor would be a “stand alone company”, Andrew Hilton was keen to underline that everything would be done to ensure the London dealership’s total autonomy. To this end although Amor will be jointly owned by Mark Law, Andrew Hilton and Paul Crane, only Mr Crane will be a director of Albert Amor alongside Mrs George.

The 18 months during which Dreweatt’s owned Amor has been a success according to all sides with mutually a beneficial cross-over of clientele. It seems, however, that Mark Law’s presence was a key ingredient: “He was the catalyst that made it work,” said Paul Crane.

Richard Barton of Dreweatt Neate also stressed the amicable nature of the arrangement: “It made sense for Mark to purchase Amor,” he said last week. He also added that Dreweatts would be replacing Mr Law and will be making an announcement when his successor has been found but pointed out that in the meantime there were two other members of the company with ceramics expertise: Clive Stewart-Lockhart and George Archdale.