My parents were both dealers and so from a very young age I spent a lot of time going to auctions and antique shops with them. I have to confess that I hated it and always swore that I would never become an antique dealer. Yet I always enjoyed listening to my father explaining how things were made and was sucked in by his passion; without realising it my eye gradually became accustomed to these things around me. So when I went off to university and saw a watercolour I liked in a shop for £15 – I bought it instinctively and that was it really… I continued to buy small things when I could until I realised I wanted to become an antique dealer after all and joined my parents’ business trading at Fairs.
That was a long while ago and I have come to realise that what I enjoy most about these objects that I buy and sell is that feeling of connection to a world that was seemingly so different. The connection can be obvious: finding a name written in pencil hidden away, or letters in a secret compartment, carefully tied up. Or it can be less obvious: the realisation that a chair with a puzzlingly low, but comfortable, back was a dressing chair in which men sat to have their wigs dressed, tells you something about the world in which they lived that you had never thought about. Like a door opening it makes you realise that, of course, they wanted to be comfortable while their hair was done just as we do. Looking at these objects not just as old things to be collected and venerated, but as things that still have something to say to us about ourselves and how we got here is what keeps me doing this.
Oh and I still have that watercolour.