World-Class Provenance

I’ve hit the big time! I have joined the ranks of the greatest billionaire collectors of the world. J Pierpont Morgan. John D Rockefeller. J Paul Getty. Henry Clay Frick. Calouste Gulbenkian. William Randolph Hearst. Andrew Mellon. An assortment of Rothschilds. And me. What gives me the effrontery to claim membership of this illustrious band? … More World-Class Provenance

A Tale of Two Jugs

It’s been quiet on the blog front in recent weeks. Preoccupied with the summer holidays and a whole bunch of other highly pleasurable activities, I just haven’t had time or inclination to settle down to serious writing – or even to frivolous and facetious jotting. If I sound intolerably smug to any reader who has … More A Tale of Two Jugs

Pottery and poetry

I’ve been thinking about figurative versus abstract art. Art that tells stories versus art that uses only colour or pattern or shape or material. Very possibly I could do some research to find out what the art theory experts have to say about this difficult topic. Probably a lot, very little of which I would … More Pottery and poetry

Expert Connoisseur

I’ve always been highly suspicious of anyone who is described, or describes him- or herself, as a connoisseur. It’s a term you frequently hear bandied around in art and antiques circles. But what does it mean? According to the artist and critic Jonathan Richardson in his book Two Discourses, published in 1719, connoisseurship has three … More Expert Connoisseur

Scotland’s First Khedival Khayamiya

Earlier on this blog I posted a piece entitled “Staples” about a Chinese porcelain bowl bought in 2012 at an auction in Aboyne, a small town in Aberdeenshire some 30 miles west of Aberdeen. This new posting is about another purchase from the same auction. I paid £5.00 for it. What a great day that … More Scotland’s First Khedival Khayamiya

Selling Flags

There was a period of a couple of years after I retired from full-time work and before I started writing my book Random Treasure when I became a semi-serious antique dealer. Which is to say that I trawled the house for possessions that I could live without, and started selling them off fairly systematically. And … More Selling Flags

Outmoded but not quite forgotten

I never buy nineteenth century engravings. Don’t even like them much. Especially those dark, dreary, ponderous reproductions of high Victorian narrative/historical/romantic paintings. My tastes in wall art are more modern, more colourful, more abstract. You see these things all the time in low-end auctions. No-one collects them. More often than not they are left unsold, … More Outmoded but not quite forgotten