I first met Roger 25 years ago through exhibiting at Caroline Penman Fairs and I was introduced to him by his business partner and friend John Reid, and although it did take quite a long time for Roger to accept me into his ‘circle’ of friends as he didn’t like change, we soon became true friends for life.
Roger had a very full life away from the antique fairs. He was a keen sportsman, having played county cricket for Staffordshire and the local team ‘The Grasshoppers’ in his younger days. He loved all sport, playing tennis and swimming well into his eighties… he was playing Bowls the night before he died!
He was very passionate about all aspects of the countryside and he really enjoyed singing in his local choir, especially at Christmas.
Roger’s biggest passion was his large family: his wife Sally, his children Dominic, Sabine and Claire, and his six grandchildren. He was so proud of his family and was always happiest when they all got together on holiday in Salcombe, where he would rent a cottage so they all could be together.
They were not only his wonderful legacy, but also the foundation that enabled him to enjoy another passion of his – antiques, specialising in 18th and 19th century British pottery and political and royal commemorative pieces.
And he really knew his subject. His stand at the many fairs he did was always full of the rare and unusual items you normally would see in reference books only and his encyclopedic knowledge of any item on how it was made, by whom and the factory where it was made was awe inspiring.
His stand was always beautifully presented and he was always very professional.
The sad thing is when a specialist of Roger’s calibre goes you also lose the expertise he has built up in over 30 years of dealing –simply irreplaceable and he leaves such a void. I know Roger will be sorely missed by his many friends and customers and none so more than myself. When we got together it was always great fun and merriment – I would need many pages to write about our happy times spent on the fairs circuit!
So to all Roger’s family we offer our sincere condolences and our thoughts are with you all at this time.
I think I will leave the last word to the ‘Ancient Greeks’ who never wrote obituaries, they just asked one thing: ‘Did he have passion?’ Well, we can safely say ‘Roger, you had it in abundance!’
There will be a service in celebration of Roger de Ville’s life on Friday, October 29, at 12.30pm at St John the Baptist’s Church, Boylestone, Ashbourne, Derbyshire, DE6 5AB. No need to wear black! There will then be drinks and food afterwards at the Denstone Tavern, Denstone, Staffordshire, ST14 5HR. All very welcome to come raise a toast.