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He replaces Ian Walker who has held the role for two years.

Mr Coulborn, 41, is the youngest such appointee since Henry Neville in 1996. Director of Thomas Coulborn & Sons, dealers in 18th and 19th century furniture, paintings and works of art, he has been chairman of the BADA Fair for the past two years.

Commenting on his appointment, he said: "The trade is having to adjust to a changing market. In a brand-dominated retail world, many dealers realise that to attract the uninitiated customer we must present what we sell in a more sophisticated and visually arresting way.

"I believe this is crucial for the future of our business in such a competitive marketplace. Good presentation allows the viewer to focus on the beauty of the antiques and works of art that we offer for sale, and to be drawn to a greater understanding of the appeal of handling and owning wonderful things."

Also at BADA's annual general meeting on July 11, Richard Coles, of London furniture dealers Godson & Coles, joined both the BADA council and the BADA Fair committee. He is already an assessor on the BADA-supported furniture restoration course at West Dean College.

Two further appointments were also announced: Ilona Johnson-Gibbs of Stow-on-the-Wold picture dealers The Titian Gallery has taken over from Antony Preston as the BADA Midlands regional representative, and Paul Archard of Tonbridge clock dealers Derek Robert Antiques is another new addition to the BADA Fair committee.