Special Collections’ art and antiques market collections comprise the archives of antique dealers and the collections of individuals interested in the history of the art and antiques market. The primary focus of the collections is on the 19th and 20th century market for decorative art and furniture.
The collections contain many administrative documents including stock books, sales ledgers and furniture restoration records. Some encompass publicity material such as trade cards, photographs of stock, magazine and newspaper cuttings, and records relating to antiques dealers’ fairs. There is also printed material that includes books and pamphlets.
The art and antiques market collections are of particular interest to researchers and students studying the social, economic and cultural context of the trade. Scholars in complementary disciplines such as material culture studies, the history of collecting and the development of museums and galleries will find the archives a rich resource. The collections contain significant material for those researching business, social and cultural history, and design.
Antique Dealers Research Project
The international Antique Dealers Research Project (ADRP) has been key in helping Special Collections to acquire the art and antiques market collections. The project focuses on the history and activities of the antique trade over the last 200 years. By continuing to source archives to enhance the collections, the project is helping to build a unique resource for national and international researchers.
To protect the personal information of individual and institutional buyers some records in the collections are subject to data protection restrictions and closure. In some cases, the donor has requested the closure of the records. This is clearly indicated in the relevant records.
Find art and antique dealer material in:
Phillips of Hitchin Collection
The Phillips of Hitchin Collection is of particular interest to scholars researching changing tastes in furniture and antiques in the 20th century as it includes many photographs of stock. The sales ledgers, stock books, invoices and correspondence contain an abundance of information on the antique market. For data protection reasons some administrative and financial material from, and including, 1950 is closed.
Phillips of Hitchin was established in 1884 by Frederick William Phillips (1856-1910). In the late 19th and early 20th century it was one of the most important and influential antique dealers selling to prestigious clients and many major museums in the UK and internationally. Phillips also carried out many architectural conservation and building projects.
The John Evan Bedford Library of Furniture History
On his death in February 2019 the art and antique dealer John Bedford left a fine collection of rare books, manuscripts, artworks and objects to the University of Leeds.
Assembled over almost half a century, the John Evan Bedford Library of Furniture History covers all aspects of the English home, from interior design and furnishings to lighting and metalwork, drapery and upholstery to architectural and garden design. The collection comprises a huge range of primary manuscript and published source material, much of which is rare if not unique. As well as many scarce editions of eighteenth-century furniture pattern books, including copies produced by Chippendale, Robert Adam and many other key names, the library is rich in rare ephemera including trade cards, labels and pamphlets, many of which are unknown outside this collection.
Roger Warner Collection
The Roger Warner Collection provides insights into antique dealing in the categories between ‘high style’ and ‘vernacular’. Researchers will find comprehensive administrative and financial records from 1936 onwards revealing the working practices of the trade. Of note are the detailed day books in which Warner has logged purchases by individuals and companies. There are records of financial transactions in stock, cash and receipt books and accounts.
Roger Harold Metford Warner (1913-2008) founded Roger Warner Antique Dealers in Burford in 1936. His specialism was trading in items of little interest to other dealers such as beds, the furnishings of servants’ quarters and obsolete agricultural implements. Warner dealt with many important private buyers and museums including Temple Newsam House and the V&A.
H. C. Baxter and Sons Collection
The H. C. Baxter and Sons Collection contains sales ledgers and stock books covering transactions in the mid-twentieth century. These are a valuable resource for researchers into the history of the antique market.
H. C. Baxter and Sons of Chelsea were a leading trade supplier of fine quality English 18th and early 19th century antique furniture in the second half of the 20th century. Set up in 1927, the business became known as a provider of antique furniture to the London trade.
H. M. Lee & Sons and R. A. Lee Collection
The H. M. Lee & Sons and R. A. Lee Collection is a stunningly visual one. It contains an extensive number of photographs of stock including furniture and works of art, together with newspaper cuttings pasted into scrapbooks. There are comprehensive business records on index cards and in stock books. R. A. Lee was a horologist and his records on the clockmaker, Joseph Knibb, are of particular interest to clock historians.
Henry Morton set up the Lee family antique dealing business in Kingston upon Thames just after the First World War as H. M. Lee. By 1949 his son Ronald had established his own business as R. A. Lee. Ronald was especially interested in antiques with historical significance and aesthetic beauty. He sold a wide range of objects, to collectors and museums worldwide.
Stair and Company Collection
The Stair and Company Collection comprises the contents of three albums of magazine and press cuttings and advertisements, 1940-1977. Many are for Stair and Company and show where and how antiques were marketed to clients.
The company were English Furniture dealers originally established as Stair and Andrew. Stair and Company became significant dealers in the national and international markets with branches in London and New York.
M. Turpin Limited Photograph Collection
The M. Turpin Limited Photograph Collection consists mainly of photographs of stock. There are also record sheets giving details of the restoration work carried out on some items.
Maurice Turpin was an antiques dealer and owner of M. Turpin Limited of Bruton Street, Mayfair. He was one of the first English dealers to make regular journeys to America to buy stock.