Parker Fine Art Auctions
Buffy Parker is celebrating 50 years in the art market. After a brief stint as an actor, he began his working life as a porter at Bonhams in June 1973 before taking “the biggest gamble of my life” and becoming a dealer in 1980, which he did for 30 years.
He then turned to auctions, working with John Nicholson’s from 2012 before launching his own firm in 2020 with Henny Smith (Parker Fine Art Auctions).
Parker says: “I loved the drama and unpredictability of auctions and had a lightbulb moment during lockdown, when I realised I could never retire. So I decided to set up my own auction house, focusing solely on pictures and offering low commission rates [vendors pay just £10 per lot].”
Looking back over his career, Parker says his most memorable painting was one he bought in 1995: a portrait of Pope Clement VI by Sebastiano del Piombo, in a poor state which he bought “for a song”. He then sold it at “Christie’s for £380,000 and it was bought seven years later by the Getty Museum for an eight-figure sum”. He bought a racehorse with some of the profit which he called del Piombo and which “did rather well!”
Parker’s interest in pictures may have stemmed from his childhood: “My father was a royal photographer and I was surrounded by beautiful images. I had a period of deafness in childhood – a time of visual learning which perhaps helped hone my ability to spot a great picture.”
Reminiscing about how different his early day as a dealer were to the modern world of online bidding, he says: “I drove thousands of miles a week, viewing auctions all over the UK. I’d go to the bank once a week and stock up on 10p coins which I used in phone boxes at every service station to call auction houses, leaving bids and asking for results.”
Parker celebrated his 50th year in the art business in style with a party at his saleroom in Farnham, Surrey.
Auction house Hansons has opened its sixth saleroom, this time in Hertfordshire.
Hanson Ross in Royston follows Hansons acquiring the assets of Charles Ross Auctioneers in Woburn and Holloway’s in Banbury in 2020.
Auctioneer and founder Charles Hanson said: “When we opened Woburn as a weekly valuation centre, we quickly noted the depth of client contact which justified developing the business and finding an auction house location nearby and conveniently situated to nurture new sellers and new buyers.”
The Royston saleroom on Lumen Road, close to the railway station, will focus on jewellery and fine art. It is run by marketing specialist Amanda Butler, partner and director of operations, and Miles and Michael Wheeler (also of Wheeler Antiques) as partners, with Miles taking on the role of head valuer at Royston.
The new location will be supported by Hansons’ Melissa Lee-Patrick, head of jewellery, Natasha Marriot, jewellery consultant, and general valuer Bob Sutton.
Hanson Ross’ first live sale in Royston is scheduled for August 4. Apart from auction days the location will be open by appointment only except for drop in valuations on Fridays between 10am-1pm.
Hansons also holds valuation days in the area in Woburn, Hitchin and Berkhamsted and plans new valuation days in Bedford, Luton, Hertford and Saffron Walden. It will also launch a valuation day in Southampton.
Founded by Charles Hanson in 2005, the auction house unveiled its fifth location in Tunbridge Wells in Kent earlier this year. It also has salerooms in Derbyshire, Staffordshire, Oxfordshire (Hanson Holloway’s Ross) and Teddington in London as well as a network of valuation offices.
Art Advisory Group
Crispian Riley-Smith has launched a new firm called Art Advisory Group.
AAG operates across the art market for clients including private individuals, family collections, museums and “anyone responsible for any art and/or luxury asset”.
The group is a network of specialists covering more than 50 areas from NFTs, anti-money laundering and shipping advice to restoration, valuations of art and antiques and legal advice.
Riley-Smith has 32 years’ art market experience having started at auction houses before becoming a dealer for more than 20 years. He was also founding director of London Art Week and Master Drawings New York (the latter he sold earlier this year).
AAG will sponsor a session at the Art Business Conference in September and is a corporate member of Historic Houses and will attend its conference in November.
The Art Business Conference
The Art Business Conference will return this autumn on September 12 with themes for discussion including on how the UK can retain its important position in the global art world, art market standards and due diligence, the impact of AI and a focus on sustainability.
A UK Art Market Confidence Survey has been launched in association with the Society of London Art Dealers (SLAD) ahead of the event. This will be completed this summer with the findings released at the conference.
The conference, which takes place at Church House Conference Centre, Westminster, is also launching a scheme for museum curators, offering travel bursaries (in partnership with the Art Fund) and subsidised places to attend the event. It also asks other firms if they would like to ‘support a curator’ to attend the conference by offering funding in addition to the 20 places already funded by the conference and supporters.
You can complete the SLAD survey via atg.news/SLAD-AMC-survey