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As a result of a deal signed on Thursday, November 18, Neales, established in 1830, will join the network of regional auctioneers, which already includes salerooms in Donnington, Bristol, Tunbridge Wells, Eastbourne and Honiton.

Unlike the group’s other salerooms, which since an April rebrand have operated under the Dreweatt Neate name, the Nottingham saleroom will continue under the Neales name it has had for 147 years.

Mike Thoms, chief executive of both the FAAG and Dreweatt Neate Fine Art, saw good reason to keep the name as his company pushed north.

“Neales is one of the most reputable regional auctioneers in the Midlands,” he said. “The decision to continue to operate under the Neales name is a clear recognition of the strength of the saleroom’s reputation in this part of the country.

“In all other aspects of the business, Neales will be a fully integrated member of the group, and will benefit from our enlarged team of specialists, our groupwide auction system, our centralised support functions, and the group’s national and international client base.”

Mr Thoms said the FAAG had been looking for an opportunity to expand beyond Dreweatt Neate’s natural strength in the South of England and described Neales – and former owners Bruce and Susan Fearn who will continue to run the firm – as an excellent fit into their business model.

Bruce Fearn, who joined Neales in 1957, will join The Fine Art Auction Group’s main board as a director.

He described his decision to join the rapidly expanding regional saleroom network as “the ideal way for us to realise our ambitions to expand the Neales business in the Midlands”.

“The resources that we now have available to us will allow us to compete in the area from an even more commanding position. The Neales business is entering a very exciting phase of its development,” he added.

The move brings to eight the number of English fine art and antiques auctioneers that have been acquired by the Fine Art Auction Group since the parent company was established just three years ago.