A recent correspondence in the Antiques Trade Gazette about how the art world has changed over the past forty or fifty years brought back happy memories. The following note is based on my own contribution.
While I had the good fortune to be born into a family long established in the trade, I count my eighteen months as a ‘student porter’ at Christie’s as both formative and inspirational.
In those days, Christie’s strength lay in the passion and depth of knowledge in each department, together with a web of connections across the country and further afield. Christie’s was still a partnership and the board was made up of experts in various fields; in addition to the major partners, there were towering figures including Anthony du Boulay (Asian Art), Hugo Morley-Fletcher (Continental Ceramics), William Mostyn-Owen and Gregory Martin (Old Master Paintings), and many others equally distinguished. While a handful of passionate connoisseurs remain, their position is much diminished, surely to the detriment of nurturing future generations of connoisseur-collectors.