I remember a Chinese porcelain jardiniere my brother and I purchased in an auction on the south coast in the mid 1990s which was degraded with scaling all over – it looked like it would cost a fortune to repair. We felt that we had to try and buy it as it had been a great rarity originally. The item still had a certain value, even if it would have to be repainted.
We bought it very reasonably in those days and I delivered it to Ian in his workshop on the Stockport Road. A few days later I had a phone call from Ian telling me it was done. ‘How?’ I said – there was a month’s work to be spent on it.
He told me he had submerged it in one of his recipe solutions (which he said he thought would do the trick) and the hard scaling had disappeared bringing it back to life like the day it was made. This was one of Ian’s masterstrokes that he had performed time and again over the decades for us.
When I visited his workshop over the years, there were always large and small tubs with porcelain submerged in his solutions, doing his trickery.
Ian was a perfectionist. He was the best there was, in my opinion. There wasn’t a thing he couldn’t do – if a figure needed replacing or a vase had been wrecked, he could bring it back to its original condition.
Working together with Andy, a master painter, their work came in from far and wide. Even the Far Eastern collectors and dealers found them a must for repairing porcelain, as well as some of the major auction houses in London.
I will be forever grateful for knowing Ian. His standards were of the highest order and few can take his place.
Ian had been in declining health the last year and passed away suddenly before Christmas. He is survived by his wife, children, and larger family.