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The late Peter Bontoft.

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Peter went into partnership with William Stokes in 1974. Initially they traded from Cold Overton Hall in Rutland, selling early furniture and ‘kindred items’, mainly to upper echelons of the trade, such as Stair and Company of Mount Street and the pre-eminent dealer Mary Bellis.

In 1979 they moved operations to Robert’s House, Siddington, Gloucestershire, and became more strongly retail, exhibiting for many years at the Harrogate Antiques Fair. In the early 1980s they were invited to exhibit at the prestigious Grosvenor House Antiques Fair and this continued for some 10 years.

Here they met and befriended many private collectors, selling their stock-in-trade furniture – well-carved items of the late 16th and 17th centuries – to form the basis of many good private collections. In the 1990s William and Peter moved base again to a lovely late-medieval premises in Dollar Street, Cirencester, and for many years until quite recently they held annual selling exhibitions in October.

Lasting friendships

Peter lived his life with gusto and had enjoyed every minute of it. He had made many lasting friendships along the way, mostly with traders and private customers.

He loved to recall the high spots and happy times. He looked back without regrets. And he was devoted to his partner, William, whose great interest and empathy with early furniture he respected strongly.

In January 2015 William died, aged 94, and along with many of us, Peter mourned. A bright light had gone out and we all knew it. Now Peter is gone and another bright light is extinguished. His surviving family of nephew Mathew and wife Anne, niece Lisa and great-niece Hannah, and his close friends, will feel the sadness and a hole in their existence. Needs must that we say ‘Aloha’, but it is hard.

The funeral is at 12noon on September 17 at Cirencester Parish Church. No flowers, please. Donations welcome to Friends of Cirencester Parish Church, c/o Cowley and Son Ltd, Funeral Directors, Triangle House, 62 Victoria Road, Cirencester GL7 1ES.

By John Muir