1 How did you get your start?
I entered the trade as a cabinetmaker and French polisher after doing an old-fashioned apprenticeship where I attended High Wycombe Furniture College. After five years I was given the opportunity to go buying at one of the world’s largest trade fairs and through this and other buying trips I got the bug. I later helped Simon Kunzer of Thornborough Antiques with sales at Bermondsey Market. After he retired, I went on to start dealing in Portobello Road.
2 What is one great discovery you have made?
I purchased a wonderfully rare single harlequin tea caddy veneered in ivory and tortoiseshell by torchlight at Birmingham’s rag market at 3am on a cold, wintery morning.
These are extremely rare, so much so the market is flooded with fakes – buyers beware! We are lucky enough to have recently purchased a twin tortoiseshell and mother-of-pearl tea chest, made by the same hand. Right place, right time and hard work can pay off.
3 What is one change you would like to see in the trade?
With all the talk on climate, I would very much like to to see the removal of VAT on antiques and to promote ‘Antiques are Green’ once again.
4 Who do you admire in the world of antiques?
John Howard, aka my ‘antiques dad’…he’s been someone I look up to and greatly admire. A huge character within the trade, he always has his finger on its pulse and dispenses valuable advice. He has also calmed me down after a few frustrating issues of vetting at fairs – in my early days of course! This was very refreshing as the trade can be very guarded at times, as we all know, but John is just a phone call away and always leaves a smile on your face.
5 Real ale or espresso martini?
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