Alexandra Toscano of Trinity Fine Art.

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1. How did you get your start?

I answered an ad in the Times (‘auction house director seeks fluent Italian-speaking PA’) and was given the position working for John Winter at Sotheby’s. It was a dream job.

In 1984, after we left, he and Jonathan Mennell formed Trinity Fine Art and in 1988 John asked me to join and run it while he lived mainly in Italy.

2. What is the first sale you remember making?

At one Salon du Dessin an important client made an offer on a Goya drawing. I needed confirmation we could sell it at that price and finally got the go-ahead as I saw the collector disappear out the door.

I remember leaping from the stand, running full pelt down the many steps of the Palais de la Bourse and virtually landing on the poor man who was nevertheless delighted.

The sale was made with me red-faced and out of breath. You need all sorts of skills in this job and agility is one of them.

3. What has been driving the market for the past year or so?

Provenance, rarity, condition.

4. How has the trade changed?

I am old enough to remember people queuing to get into the open evening of our exhibitions and us selling at least 50% of stock in the first hour. I do miss that excitement.

These days, collectors require a great deal of endorsement by their advisers before making a purchase rather than being led by their own desire. It is not necessarily a bad thing – just different.

5. Real ale or espresso martini?

I am half-Venetian – so Aperol Spritz, of course.