The team at the freshly re-branded Harper Field were in fine form for the opening of its brand new saleroom earlier this month. Founded as Stroud Auctions in 2004 and run by Nick, wife Lyn and daughter Alexandra Bowkett, the auction house now employs 10 full-time staff and more than 10 part-time or consultant staff.
The building was designed and built from scratch just outside Stonehouse, to the west of Stroud in Gloucestershire, with green features including solar panels and the purchase of adjacent land for a meadow.
The new title is in reference to the name of the land on which the saleroom was built. Nick, lead auctioneer and ceramics and Asian art specialist, said: “It has always been our aim to have our own premises and not rely on landlords. This has been years in the making.”
The Bowketts thanked the local authority Stonehouse council “for its enormous support” for the project. Lyn added: “There is very little space like this in the area but it was important to stay in this location. The people in Stroud like using local businesses and we get a lot of support from them. But we are also seeing visits and calls from the broader area from south Wales to Bristol.”
The site, close to junction 13 of M5 and Stonehouse railway station, is on the banks of the Stroudwater Navigation canal. Harper Field is supporting charity Cotswold Boatmobility with a landing stage as part of its investment.
Bamfords celebrated its move into its new premises in Spondon, Derbyshire, earlier this month with a party ahead of a busy week of auctions. James Lewis, Bamfords’ director, said: “After a year of designing, planning and building, we are there. It is bigger, better and designed for the post-Covid era.”
The Spondon premises, in a residential area on the Nottingham Road between Derby and Nottingham, includes a 3000 sq ft two-storey entrance atrium where lots will be permanently on display; two large salerooms where sales will alternate; a third specialist saleroom; valuation rooms and courier collection areas. The outside of the former B&Q unit has a rain garden cut into the tarmac of the 60-space car park and the firm plans beehives and extra planting in future.
The new saleroom opened on June 11 and hosted Bamfords’ biggest auction in 10 years which ran on June 13-16. Bamfords, founded in 2002, has moved from its Chequers Road, Derby, premises which had suffered from flooding in 2019. The firm has 27 staff and also holds auctions at its Bakewell saleroom, and operates from a number of valuation offices.
Cuttlestones is to close its Wolverhampton saleroom next month but will continue to operate from its Penkridge, Staffordshire, premises.
The auction house said Wolverhampton Auction Rooms Ltd will cease trading and close on July 31. In a statement the firm said: “This decision has been taken reluctantly due to long-standing staff retiring and difficult trading conditions in Wolverhampton.”
It had opened the Wolverhampton saleroom in 2011.
Cuttlestones’ existing full-time staff will be transferred to its Penkridge auction rooms, taking staff to 10. The firm also plans to relaunch its website.
The last Wolverhampton sale is on July 6.
Ben Gamble, Cuttlestones’ managing director and head auctioneer, thanked all the firm’s clients over the past 15 years.
Boies Schiller Flexner
Art world lawyer Pierre Valentin has joined Boies Schiller Flexner as a partner. Also joining are his colleagues: Fionnuala Rogers, Tom Christopherson and Penny Walker (joining as counsel) and Emelyne Peticca and Mona Yapova joining as associates. The team will divide its time between London and Milan.
Valentin, who has 25 years’ experience in the art market, joins from Constantin Cannon where he founded and led its Art and Cultural Property Group. Prior to this, he was partner at law firm Withers and in-house counsel to Sotheby’s.
The team will represent clients on matters of ownership, valuation of art, fraud, authenticity and provenance, foreign nation recoveries and restitution, intellectual property and new technology They will work with art collectors, art galleries, art dealers, auction houses, artists and museums as well as nonprofit organisations, insurance companies and art investment funds.
Cross-jurisdictional art law
Valentin said: “New York and London have long been major hubs, but as the art market diversifies and globalises, there is an increasing need for cross-jurisdictional art law capabilities in major European financial centres such as Milan. I am looking forward to partnering with the Italy attorneys to further strengthen their established art practice, while also leveraging the BSF platform to continue to service my clients with their art law needs throughout the world.”