Study Day - 22 November 2018

Study Day - 22 November 2018

2 Dec 2018 - 16:33 BY Roz Morris

Marc Allum - Unlocking Antiques

“Most people are collectors, in one way or another”

Dressed in his signature checked blazer, speaking confidently and enthusiastically without any notes, Marc Allum set about unlocking antiques for the society study day during three lectures: Anatomy of Collecting; Fakes and Forgeries; Auctioneers Tales.

During the first lecture Marc told of early influential collectors, including Charles Pagett Wade of Snowshill Manor in Gloucester and John Tradescant the elder “My hero” and his route to becoming a miscellaneous specialist (“knowing a bit about a lot”) on the Antiques Roadshow, where he has been involved both on screen and behind the production for the past 20 years.   He described his collecting habits and showed slides of various Cabinets of Curiosities, including his own and one of his bottles:  
    “I started young, as many collectors do. I was amassing fossils and digging up bottles in my early teens,… I still have one of the first bottles I ever dug up”.

Following a break for coffee and danish pastries, Marc continued with a lecture about fakes and forgeries, first of all defining the difference between reproductions - “an honest copy”- and forgeries - “made to fool and profit by it”.  This intriguing  part of the day delved into shady world of forgeries  describing some of the notorious  forgers, including Mark Landis, and others who became admired for their skill like Tom Keating. 

Marc confessed that he would like to make a programme for the BBC called Garden Shed Forgeries after hearing about Shaun Greenhalgh who made a great deal of money from forging antique statuary in the garden shed of his council house. Watch this space!

A delicious lunch of lasagna and salad followed this lecture ending with coffee and petit fours thus setting up the audience to delve once again into Marc’s world with the final lecture of the day, called ‘Auctioneers Tales’. This lecture described many of the things he is required to do as a freelance art and antiques journalist, writer and broadcaster, including valuations for probate, and being the first person to film a kitchen sink on the Antiques Roadshow, which turned out to be part of an iconic early modular 1950s kitchen. 

As an auctioneer for over 30 years his advice is that travel is important, objects are memories; to “Buy what you like within reason, don’t set a limit” and “everyone should have a piece of the Berlin Wall”, as he does. Marc finished his lecture by promoting his latest book; ‘Antiques Roadshow, 40 Years of Great Finds’, co-authored with fellow Roadshow Specialist and Lecturer Paul Atterbury.

Marc then answered questions from the floor.  Thank you to everyone for organising a most enjoyable day attended by 90 guests.

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