Tom Smith of Dovecote Antiques.

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1 How did you get your start?

Growing up on a farm in an old house meant I have always had an interest in antiques. When I was 22 and working for the National Trust, I had a few spare months in the winter when I needed something to do.

My parents suggested dealing and Dovecote Antiques grew from there. I specialise in affordable fine porcelain, silver and jewellery and aim to find interesting and unusual items.

2 How has the market changed in your experience?

Dovecote is coming up to its 10-year anniversary next year and I would say the biggest change has been the rise in trade with the Far East along with the interest in traditional hand-painted porcelain.

Lavishly gilded teacups and saucers are very popular with clients from Asia, the more flowers the better!

The increase in online trading and the use of platforms such as Facebook and Instagram is having an impact.

We can now reach markets hitherto only dreamed of.

3 What is one highlight item in your stock right now?

We have a wonderful Minton Pâte sur Pâte plate by Alboin Birks, where the panel featuring a cherub looks like it is exploding through the middle of the plate.


Minton Pâte sur Pâte plate by Alboin Birks.

4 What do you collect personally?

I started collecting commemorative wares aged 12 and then moved onto Minton after purchasing a plate from Bac to Basic Antiques at the NEC in the mid-2000s. I still collect Minton and find it hard to part with certain pieces from time to time.

5 Real ale or espresso martini?

I don’t drink either – can I have a hot chocolate instead?

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