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Saturday, 10 August 2013

The Year so Far.

   I thought it might be an idea , as we have started blogging, to set the scene with where we are at. This year seems to be flying past so starting our blog with what has already gone on this year would appear to be a good way of letting you all know ( if you don't already) what has been going on at our shop in the Cotswolds.
Interestingly, business started well in the New Year with sales to both new and existing customers which was a pleasant surprise as it can sometimes take a few weeks after the Christmas and New Year Festivities for things to get going.
  We had also just set up an online presence with 1stdibs at the end of December 2012 as way of further tapping into the huge global market for Fine Art and Antiques. We had decided that with the current economic situation not improving greatly we would again give Olympia International Art & Antiques Fair a miss this year. We both thoroughly enjoy the two weeks there buying ,selling and spending time with other dealers but felt that with the costs involved and the amount of stock we have to sell to cover these costs at present it was not a gamble we wanted to take. Better to invest the money elsewhere in stock , exhibitions and things like 1stDibs .
     February brought a day out at The House of Lords for The LAPADA Conference 2013. Starting with a tour followed by lectures on Social Media , The Art Market's Digital Future and Online Dealing. It also gave Sean the opportunity of introducing to the delegates the  LAPADA Quiz App . An inspired idea he had been working on with LAPADA as both a fun and educational  Antiques quiz aswell as being a way of helping to market the wonderful stock of its members. This is now live and available to download at itunes and has the facility for members to include questions on their stock as they upload them on to the LAPADA website. It is still in its infancy and will benefit greatly with the addition of more questions but even now is great fun and quite addictive.

     Around this time we also entered an exciting find into the Lapada Object of the Year  We had found and researched with a dear friend and retired book dealer a fascinating collection of 93 watercolours depicting various Scottish Artisans, Street Traders and Characters including J. Pettit the Rat Catcher, a China Mender, a Newhaven Fisherman, a Highland Reaper, Strawberry Sellers, a Carrier of Children’s Coffins at Funerals, a Chambermaid and a Doorbell Installer. A really great find deserving of being in a museum collection.





Come the results day at the June Olympia Antiques Fair we were very pleased to find that we came 2nd in both the Judges and Peoples Vote which bearing in mind the quality and rarity of the other entrants was a momentous achievement.

March saw another lovely day out at the Bath Decorative Antiques Fair with our good friends Manfred and Gabi Schotten . Some good purchases were made including a Coat of Arms for the Ballantyne family probably made in Canton judging by the Angel supporters with oriental faces. More on that later. The trip there and back also gave us the chance to talk about our next joint exhibition together.
Every couple of years we have jointed up to hold a selling Exhibition at which we have given 5% of our takings to a local charity we have been keen to support over the years Kate's Home Nursing At the first one 6 years ago we organised a navigational car rally under the name Kate's Great Escape which alongside the exhibitions have raised thousands of pounds for this very worthy charity. The name for this years exhibition would be Rule Britannia and was held in mid July. The Exhibition celebrated Britain's reputation for invention and high standards both traits exemplified in furniture design and the creation and development of sports and games. The car rally proved to be another outstanding success with many saying it was the best yet and again raising much needed money for the charity. Checkout some of the photos on Manfred'sBlog .





Whilst the exhibition was on I was fortunate enough to still be able to go on the Regional Furniture Society annual Conference and AGM in Edinburgh. This was a fantastic few days for so many reasons. Deciding to drive up  with my mother we stopped off to collect the Gillows scholar Susan Stuart in Lancaster combining a break with a visit to Judges Lodgings Museum a must for anyone interested in Gillows furniture. Over the next few days we visited too many houses to mention but including Gosford house where we were given a wonderful private tour by the lovely Dowager Countess of Wemyss and March. Other successes of this trip were discovering the name of the artist of our Lapada Object of the Year entry and meeting members of the Ballantyne family whose Armourial was mentioned above. I think a blog for the future will have to be dedicated to this weekend.

The brings us just about up to date and a good place to finish. I am looking forward to writing up future blogs on how the rest of the year goes aswell as looking back at some interesting stories from the past.

Simon