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Olivers Fine Art Auctioneers were established in Sudbury by John and William Oliver in 1766 – early clients included the family of local artist Thomas Gainsborough – and remained a family concern until 1967. Its most recent owner is James Fletcher who has taken the decision to merge with a larger firm to ensure the future of the business.

Under the new arrangement, the Sudbury auction room will continue to conduct fortnightly Victoriana and decorative auctions and biannual catalogued auctions incorporating oak, country furniture, arms and armour and decorative items – the first scheduled for Tuesday, April 4, 2006.

High quality pieces beyond the scope of these events (they will be titled simply Sales in Suffolk) will be moved to Stansted.

Guy Schooling, managing partner at Sworders told ATG that the refurbishment of Olivers’ premises would soon be underway and announced the appointment of two new young members of staff who have left Bonhams in Oxford to oversee the changes.

Joining James Fletcher will be Sarah Lewis, 32, a general valuer, auctioneer and picture specialist, and arms and armour specialist Tony Cribb. The business will now be known as Sworders Fine Art Auctioneers incorporating Olivers.

An important element in Sworders future plans is the creation of a new auction centre offering more space and facilities than those offered at their current premises in the centre of Stansted Mountfitchet.

Outline planning consent has now been given for a new building situated on a brownfield site, just outside the village limits and around one mile north of the current saleroom. Detailed plans for the seven and a half acre plot, the site of a former quarry, will be submitted in the new year.