Antiques Trade Talks – Hobson May Collection

Rachel McGrath and Carole HobsonHobson May Collection is mother and daughter team, Carole and Rachel, who share a passion for unusual and decorative antiques. The pair says they take inspiration from the classic English country house, the old school style of gentlemen’s clubs and the glamour of French chateaux. Carole and Rachel work with designers and private clients across the UK and Europe.

What areas/items are currently selling well?

Decorative pieces continue to sell well, however we are seeing increased interest in more traditional furniture.

What do you think are the current “good investment” items – ones to watch?

Good traditional oak pieces. There is often a simple natural line to these items that allow them to work well in any interior.

What antiques do you have at home?

An Art Deco chinoiserie bedroom suite, a 17th Century oak coffer and Chinese shipwreck ceramics, to name but a few. All the items we have at home have been An antique tablechosen because we love them, therefore, the mix is very eclectic.

What do you think will be the antiques of the future?

Good quality, well-crafted items that have been produced in limited numbers. Contemporary art and sculpture, often graduate end of year shows can highlight a future star.

How is the industry changing and what will it look like in the future?

The industry has changed dramatically in recent years. The internet has had a big impact, changing the way antiques are bought and sold. Business has become more global. Customers are increasingly confident about buying online and we see online business going from strength to strength. However, the opportunity to view antiques in a traditional shop or at a quality fair will always be valuable.

An antique round tableTell us some trade secrets – what are your top tips for buying antiques?

Regard the space the piece is to be placed in and buy quality – the best you can afford.

What antiques/artworks would you buy if money were no object?

We are always drawn to oriental pieces and would probably choose an exquisite Chinese ceramic vase or a fabulous Chippendale chinoiserie mirror – preferably both!

You’re down to your last 50 quid – what antiques/art would you buy?

A good single country chair. These are often ignored in the sale room and can be picked up very cheaply. Over time you may be able to build up a set!

Collection of bird pictures

Where are your favourite antique hunting destinations?

We don’t have a favourite, we are constantly looking wherever we might be.

What are some of the biggest mistakes that buyers make?

The things you didn’t buy and wish you had.

How does the industry encourage young buyers?

The industry needs to do more to encourage young buyers. We would say: don’t be afraid to go for what you like, feel free to indulge your own taste, remember you’re buying for yourself. The only
rule is buy quality, whatever the discipline. There are still items available that are undervalued and affordable.

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