Luke Macdonald is joining Sworders.

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

The firm has hired Stephen Giles to head the firm’s London operation and former Cheffins’ specialist Luke Macdonald as director.

The new faces are focused on winning new business and take the number of staff to over 40.

Chairman Guy Schooling said: “You grow or die. If we are not growing I get bored. I am not interested in running a business that is standing still.”

Macdonald joins as director and a board member alongside Schooling, managing director Paul Martin and director John Black and will in due course become a shareholder. His target is to bring in an extra £1m of goods a year.

“I believe Sworders is the fastest-growing regional auction house, is very forward thinking and well organised. There are opportunities here for me,” Macdonald told ATG. He had been at Cheffins for 13 years after previously working at Mallams, Lawrences and Woolley & Wallis.

He will be based in Stansted Mounfitchet but will continue to travel for consignments. “I average 38,000 miles a year in my car. Auction rooms are hungry machines. I have a decent black book with good connections in different regions including in the world of hunting, shooting and fishing.”

Sworders is aiming to grow in a number of market sectors including traditional and Modern art, jewellery and 20th century decorative art. It opened a London office and showroom in Cecil Court in March.

Giles is a jewellery specialist who worked for more than 20 years at Bonhams and Philips in London and Geneva followed by consultancy roles including at Lots Road.

“We needed a senior figure in London to generate business from Cecil Court,” said Schooling.


Sworders' Cecil Court office in London.

Giles will work closely with the Stansted Mountfitchet team and in particular its jewellery department.

“I have a good general knowledge and experience and can spot good things,” he said. “My breadth of knowledge is across the board and that reduces the number of specialists needed on the ground in the London office.”

Sworders is holding its first auction, for Asian art, in London at the Westbury Hotel on November 8 and plans a London themed sale later this year.