Robin Butler on Twitter

January 2011

I would like to start by wishing everyone a very happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year. With political pundits peddling doom and gloom for2011, I would like my website to be thought of as a beacon of light, good cheer and happiness! As I write this, the sun has actually made its first appearance in what seems like an age, and that has to be an excellent start.

A little request from me to you - if you have any subjects you would like me to incorporate in any subsequent newsletters - please do tell me. I like to feel that what I write is what you want to read, but despite many encouraging messages, I cannot mind-read, so please keep the responses flowing!

You may have noticed a new feature at the bottom right-hand side of my site. If not, then this may draw your attention to it. Let me explain a little about it. For many years (over 40), I was known for dealing in good Georgian furniture and objets d'art (clocks, silver, glass, etc.), and I like to think I had a pretty good reputation for what I did. Then about 6-7 years ago, it became apparent that the 'brown furniture' trade was suffering, and I took advantage of this dip in popularity of traditional antiques to strike off in a fresh area, and of which I had knowledge and experience. I decided that a change direction was not only necessary, but also one which would give me the impetus to carve myself a 'niche market' in which I could become the prime exponent.

It is 25 years since I wrote the 'Book of Wine Antiques', and 35 since I started buying for an exhibition of wine-related antiques which was part of the 1978 festival of antiques exhibitions organised by the British Antique Dealers' Association. It took a couple of years finding and researching sufficient for the exhibition, and it was entitled (dreadfully pompously, when viewed with hindsight) "The Philoenic Antiquary". During the following few years, many people associated my name with 'wine antiques' despite my continuing to deal in much the same merchandise as I had done before the exhibition.

My Wine Antiques book caught the imagination of a small number of dealers, who started to deal in corkscrews, old bottles, wine labels and so forth, but in the intervening years they have almost all retired or followed new paths, which has left me as the only dealer with a comprehensive stock in this field, strengthened, I am happy to say, by the publication of "Great British Wine Accessories" a little over a year ago.

Now that my niche is firmly established, I thought it would be a good time to re-introduce a few items of Georgian furniture which were put aside when I changed direction. Each piece or set has much merit, but when I started full time with wine accessories, I took my then-current stock into store as I wanted to make wine accessories my entire visible business.With Georgian furniture beginning to make a come-back, rather than paying an auctioneer up to 50% commission and fees (yes, they really do cost that much, with buyers premiums and other 'extras'), I felt I should offer these pieces of furniture to you first on my website.

Several People whose knowledge of the market I trust, have said recently that they think traditional English furniture is due for a resurgence in popularity - and of course, prices. I hope you like what you see, because I have marked each price very competitively.

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Just before Christmas, I was privileged to deliver an illustrated lecture to The Silver Society on 'Silver and Gold in the Service of Wine'. It is always a challenge to speak publicly to a group of experts - there were representatives from the Victoria & Albert Museum, The Goldsmiths' Company, and other leading luminaries in the world of silver, including curators, and dealers, as well as collectors. I am pleased to report that it went well, although 30 minutes to cover a subject that wide was indeed, a challenge to which I just rose - particularly as a wine tasting followed!

If you should know of any group who would like a lecture, or a more informal talk, on any aspect of my chosen subject, please do let me know. My talks are usually for 45-50 minutes with time for questions afterwards, but I am delighted to do a whole- or half-day's seminar, or fit in with organisers' plans. Just give me a call, or an e-mail for a bespoke quotation.

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