Antiques and Art in 2020 – expert predictions

We asked a range of experts and commentators what they thought 2020 would bring for the antiques and art world.  From growing demand for traditional antiques to the resurgence of regional auction houses, here’s how they see the first year of the Roaring Twenties…

Catrin Hampton, director at Chorley’s auctioneers in Gloucestershire

Catrin Hampton of Chorley's auctions

“I believe that the increased awareness to save our planet’s resources will lead not only to a resurgence in the popularity of antique (‘brown’) furniture, but to a wider appreciation of the hand-created, well-made and unique.”

David Elstob from North Yorkshire auction house Elstob & Elstob

David Elstob of Elstob & Elstob Auctioneers

“We are undoubtedly seeing an ever increasing growth in internet sales, a trend that started a few years ago but continues apace. With this comes a burgeoning demand for more detailed online information in the form of high-quality images, videos and comprehensive condition reports, and auction houses will need to keep abreast of technological advancements to showcase individual lots to their full potential.
“I also think as the marketplace becomes more global there will be a steady move towards specialist sales as regional salerooms access wider audiences and operate on a more level playing field with the larger, city-based players.”

Oliver Miller, Suffolk auction house Bishop & Miller 

Oliver Miller, auctioneer at Bishop & Miller

“It is 80 years since Sir Winston Churchill made his famous “Blood, toil, tears and sweat” speech to the House of Commons and I believe 2020 we will see a number of his used cigars, autographs and personal items come under the hammer.
“Vinyl is another one to watch. Not just the big names but the more obscure bands and genres. We are also seeing huge interest in enamel advertising signs and posters at our specialist auctions. Also antiques will increasingly be seen as the green option.”

Robin Butler, specialist in wine antiques at Butler’s Antiques

Wine antiques specialist Robin Butler

“Like any other year, antiques that are genuine, well priced and useful tend to sell best, but rarity and excellent design help enormously. Fine antiques pop up all over the place, so one has to keep one’s eyes wide open and an ear to the market. Combine good wine with fine antiques and one cannot help but being well rewarded! Cheers!”

Joe Trinder, auctioneer at Halls, Shrewsbury

Joe Trinder, auctioneer at Halls Auctions

“As recent sales have reported strong results in all corners of the British Isles, this is the age of the regional auction room. Determined buyers across the globe continue to find allure and romance in the notion of buying from collections discovered in country houses, in the UK’s market towns and countryside, which due to the internet, have never been more accessible.
“As we have just marked the 75th-anniversary of the D-Day landings, we have seen greatly increased interest and very strong prices in militaria and artefacts from WWII, which, I believe, will continue into 2020 and beyond.”

Beatrice Campi, Chiswick Auctions, London

Beatrice Campi from Chiswick Auctions

“Looking at the calendar, one can only suggest that it’s going to be a busy one for art lovers and collectors. The year opens with two ongoing blockbuster exhibitions: Inspired by the East at the British Museum (until January 26) and Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh at the Saatchi Gallery (until May 3). It goes without saying that Orientalist trends and Egyptomania aren’t over yet and it wouldn’t surprise me to see a great market revival for these specific art categories.”

Bill Forrest, head of Asian Art, Rosebery’s Auctions, London

Bill Forrest, head of Asian Arts at Rosebery's Auctions

“Sadly for many readers I am not about to predict a resurgence in the interest for ‘brown’ furniture in 2020! Instead, I think that 2020 will be a good year for modern and contemporary southeast Asian art. Many London galleries which specialise in traditional Asian art are now branching out into contemporary paintings and sculpture. Furthermore, objects and paintings by 20th-century Korean, Indonesian, Chinese and Japanese artists are appearing at auction with increasing frequency and, judging by the level of global interest and prices achieved, it is clear there is a growing appetite for these, less traditional, fields.

Naomi Pollard, head of home and interiors at Trend Bible

Naomi Pollard of Trend Bible

“At the beginning of a new decade, we see homemakers adopt a more flexible mindset as they start to decorate their homes. An optimistic feel and a new approach to wholesomeness underpins colour direction for 2020. The home becomes a space to mirror this positive consumer mood. Gone is the saturation of grey, in favour of calm yet engaging colours such as lavender and mossy olive.

Jane Juran, organiser of The Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair, Battersea

Jane Juran, organiser of The Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair

“We’ve seen a marked trend for traditional English and continental antique furniture, driven by demand from decorators and interior designers working in country homes. The classic English house ‘layered’ look is very evidently back in fashion, encompassing fine furniture; generous, upholstered seating such as Howard sofas and chairs; decorated furniture (lacquered, painted or in chinoiserie style) and traditional accessories such as Delftware vases and patterned china – although white and cream ware ceramics (French and English) remain exceedingly popular. Look for a return to tallboys, sofa tables in walnut and large centre tables in exotic woods such as amboyna.”

Simon Beattie, bookseller

Simon Beattie bookseller

“More than a decade ago, the great American bookseller William Reese said: “In the age of the internet one has to have the best, the cheapest, or the only copy.” This is as true now as it was then, as both collectors and the trade strive to find interesting, diverse material. New businesses are appearing and the traditional book market is cheerfully expanding to make room for maps and manuscripts, posters and prints, even tarot or tart cards.”

Ashley Jones, Trevanion & Dean Auctions in Shropshire

Ashley Jones of Trevanion & Dean

“2020 will kickstart the 21st-century’s version of the roaring 1920s. Tastes in antiques will change, fashions will evolve and new movements in the art world will breakout with Millennials leading the way. Young people no longer feel obliged to be custodians of the inherited artefacts curated by generations before them. The passion is to be more risqué, challenge established ideologies, break boundaries and, ultimately, be more daring in their taste for antiques. The desire to own unusual, one-off and privately-commissioned pieces will ultimately bring a resurgence in traditional antiques.”

Andrew Ewbank from Ewbank’s Auctioneers in Surrey

Andrew Ewbank from Ewbank's Auctioneers

“I predict that next year will continue to see growth in the market for vintage movie posters. We have already seen significant year-on-year growth in the area and I feel that this will continue into 2020 and beyond. Vintage movie posters are no longer seen as throw-away marketing materials, but as artworks of cultural significance in their own right. The number of collectors is growing and prices for rare posters in good condition are on the up and up.”

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