Paul Raison
Paul Raison has launched his own company.

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

David Houlston (oak furniture and works of art) and Paul Raison (Old Masters) both recently left senior positions at Bonhams and Christie’s respectively.

Houlston began working as a general valuer at Phillips Chester in the 1990s and spent 15 years heading Phillips’ and then Bonhams’ vernacular furniture sales.

He had recently moved to a consultancy role – his final sale with Bonhams was the John Douglas metalwork collection (see last week’s ATG, No 2492).

Based in the Cotswolds, near Stow-on-the-Wold, Houlston and wife Carolyn, previously a textiles specialist at Phillips, will deal from home and online via

The couple will sell period oak, vernacular furniture, textiles, metalwork and related works of art.

There is speculation Houlston’s departure may mean the end of the regular Oak Interior sales at Bonhams.

David Houlston

David Houlston has set up Houlston with his wife.

These were long conducted in Chester before moving to Oxford (Bonhams’ spacious facility at Shiptonon- Cherwell, near Kidlington) in 2014 and then to New Bond Street from 2015. In 2019 they returned to Oxford in the belief that vendors of oak and vernacular material are better served by a country rather than a central London saleroom.

A Bonhams spokesperson told ATG: “We can confirm that we will retain our expertise in selling oak furniture, including collections, which we are to be offering predominately in our Knightsbridge saleroom.”

Life after Christie's

Previously international chairman of Old Master pictures at Christie’s, Raison left the auction house after 33 years at the end of last year. Among the notable sales he was involved in during his long career was the rediscovery of Rubens’ Lot and his Daughters which made £40m in July 2016 – Christie’s house record for an Old Master painting. It is now on loan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Based in London and via the website, Paul Raison Fine Art will offer valuations and advice for sellers, collectors and institutions, as well as collection building and management services. The main focus will be on European paintings from 1200 to 1850.