Tom Edwards
Tom Edwards, newly appointed managing director of Abbott and Holder.

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Edwards joined the gallery in 2003 from Bonhams Knightsbridge where he worked as a porter and was appointed co-director with Athill in 2013.

Athill resigned on March 31, nearly 42 years after he first joined the gallery in 1979. During his tenure the firm moved to its current space in Museum Street opposite the British Museum.

Dedicated team

Edwards, who now solely owns the gallery, said: “Philip leaves a remarkably dedicated team. The combined ‘service’ of the five of us is 82 years; a testament to the success he has made the company, but also to the manner in which he has run it. His charm, energy and infectious enthusiasm will be as familiar to customers as it is to the company. We wish him the best for his retirement.”

Announcing his retirement on the company’s website, Athill said: “Abbott and Holder has been formed by an unbroken line of successful partnerships since 1936; Robert Abbott and Eric Holder, Eric and John Abbott, John and I and, latterly, me and Tom.

“It has evolved, each of us has brought necessary updates to the model. Mine I feel was the move to Museum Street in 1987. Tom’s has been to make us fit for digital purpose… The Stock Books reveal that over 120,000 pieces of paper and canvas have been through my hands since 1979. Each of them studied, considered, and bought. And sold.”

This article was amended on April 20, 2021 to note the firm belongs to Edwards following the retirement of previous managing director and owner Philip Athill on March 31.