A view of the Sampson and Horne gallery in Mayfair. The stock will be sold at Bonhams in April.

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The Mayfair-based company, which has been trading in its various incarnations for 40 years, is closing because of the ill health of one of its founders, Jonathan Horne, and the decision of the other, Christopher Banks, to scale down his dealing activities.

The spring sale will feature early ceramics, country furniture, textiles, metalwork and other examples of British folk art. The English pottery for which the firm is so renowned will be particularly strong on saltglaze and delftware, priced at all levels from rare chargers to everyday tiles.

The all-day sale will be "very much a snapshot" of what the firm deals in, said Mr Banks, and is estimated to make around £1m.

Alistair Sampson and Jonathan Horne are two of the best-known names in the field of early English pottery, and were long familiar faces in the auction rooms and at major fairs. As Jonathan Horne Antiques and Alistair Sampson Antiques, they created some of the best collections in the world for their clients, as well as buying for museums.

In July 2006, following Alistair Sampson's death, the two firms merged, Mr Horne leaving his landmark Kensington Church Street shop where he had traded for 30 years to work with Mr Banks at Mount Street. Two years later they moved premises to Brooks Mews.

Sampson and Horne follow several other big London names - Hotspur, Jeremy and Norman Adams - that have shut their doors recently.

Although individual factors come into play in each instance, the closures take place against a change in the trading environment. They mark the shift away from shops that hope to catch passing trade towards premises with a ground-floor showroom on a major shopping street and a reliance on old school, connoisseurial collectors.

By Anne Crane