Joseph Sullivan specialises in European textiles.

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1 How did you get your start?

After starting as a porter at Lots Road I worked, before the exceptional auction of his stock at Christie’s, for the textile dealer Joe Mayorcas. A brief diversion into paintings, with Paul Hahn, and then a return to textiles and 20 years with Peta Smyth.

I concentrate on European textiles of the period spanning the 15th-early 20th centuries, a range that comprises tapestries, needlework, crewelwork and other embroidery, as well as silks and velvets, and appliquéd and printed textiles. On occasion I will have something from further afield.

2 What recent trends have you noticed?

There have, of course, always been periods of heightened popularity for particular types of textile, just as there are cycles within other categories of antiques; both crewelwork and tapestries have seemed in particular demand in recent years.


Detail of a coverlet, 5ft 10in x 6ft 6in (1.78 x 1.98m), of ‘bizarre’ silk. Italian (probably Venice) or French, c.1705-10, brocaded in gilt metal thread, silver thread and silk, with a design of vases and flowers, priced £6800 from Textile Antiques.

3 Who is someone you admire?

Edward Bigden, the dealer in works of art and furniture, for both his taste and his scholarly dedication.

4 One item you could not do without?

The reference library is essential but, more drearily, the computer and the attendant easy access that it affords to auction catalogues has certainly also become indispensable.

5 Real ale or espresso martini?

Strong coffee, in quantity.