Simon Clarke of Christopher Clarke Antiques.

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1 How did you get your start?

After finishing college and trying to avoid entering the antiques trade, I worked for several years in the leisure industry. Then I was offered a job at Duncan Baggott Antiques which was a wonderful education in many different disciplines of antiques.

After the death of our father, I took on the family business with my brother Sean who had been working for Manfred Schotten Antiques.

We soon decided that the way forward in making our names in the trade was to specialise, and as campaign furniture had always been of great interest this was a logical choice.


A walnut secretaire campaign chest with packing cases to form a sideboard, c.1860, £8950 at Christopher Clarke Antiques.

2 What events do you have coming up?

Having just had an exhibition and shown at Petworth fair, we will be concentrating on newsletters while we spend time researching and writing our forthcoming book on campaign furniture.

3 What is one great discovery you have made?

We have been fortunate to have had some great discoveries, though one of the most satisfying ones was a trunk by Handfords belonging to a Captain Blackwood of the 69th Regiment. Our research into both the maker and owner showed that the trunk had to have been bought a few months before and taken to Waterloo where he was killed.

This type of provenance really brings items to life and adds to their appeal. Personally, I would love to find an item of furniture belonging to one of my heroes, Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson.

4 Do you have antiques in your home?

I like to mix it all up; have a great blend of antiques ranging from unusual furniture of different periods, antique metalware and various little collections. So you could expect to see more chairs than any household would reasonably ever need, dozens of candlesticks and early sculpture mixed in with contemporary paintings by George Underwood.

5 Real ale or espresso martini?

I do like a pint of Donningtons BB, our local ale, though I equally enjoy a good glass of red wine with a decent cheese.