Amy Scan­lon

Sworders’ Paint­ings Spe­cial­ist with an em­pha­sis on mod­ern Bri­tish and 20th-cen­tury art

Homes and Antiques Magazine - - ANTIQUES NOW -

His­tory of Art grad­u­ate Amy spent three years work­ing in a Lon­don gallery be­fore join­ing Sworders eight years ago. She now leads the Pic­ture depart­ment. Her job was to co­or­di­nate the paint­ings part of The An­niver­sary Sale, es­ti­mat­ing and cat­a­logu­ing each lot.

‘The works we’ll be of­fer­ing in our An­niver­sary Sale cover four cen­turies and are tra­di­tional in style, pri­mar­ily Old Mas­ter and Victorian paint­ings. There will be up to 150 pic­tures and our first con­sign­ments came in last year. There’s a pair of im­pres­sive paint­ings from the first half of the 19th cen­tury by Bri­tish marine painter Wil­liam John Huggins. The oil pic­tures de­pict a lifeboat res­cue in heavy seas and, at over 130cm each, th­ese re­mark­able works needed a sale with grav­i­tas. Luck­ily, the ven­dor was happy to wait over six months for this auc­tion. Since then we have been hold­ing back a num­ber of other works, rang­ing from fine minia­tures, wa­ter­colours and oils, to be the sale’s foun­da­tion.

‘When a work comes in, I catalogue and value it and re­port back to the client with my ini­tial opin­ion. The work may need fur­ther re­search, so I’m very lucky to have the ex­per­tise of our Spe­cial­ist Con­sul­tant An­drew Bowyer. To­gether we look through the paint­ings and dis­cuss them. We rarely have pic­tures cleaned or re­stored be­fore sale as this can be very ex­pen­sive and buy­ers pre­fer to see things in orig­i­nal con­di­tion.

‘I al­ways have favourites in ev­ery sale I work on. That’s the case with my favourite lot in this sale; five por­trait minia­tures painted in the 18th and 19th cen­turies (est £3,000£4,000). The elab­o­rately moulded leather frame is a tech­nique I haven’t seen be­fore.

‘On the day of the sale I’ll be work­ing up un­til 10am when the auc­tion be­gins, as­sist­ing clients with any queries they may have and com­plet­ing con­di­tion re­ports on the paint­ings. I will then be in the auc­tion room ready to take tele­phone bids.’

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