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Digital Subscriptions > Antiques Trade Gazette > 2294 > Right time, right place

Right time, right place

The DNA of Summers Place Auctions remains firmly rooted in the bygone days of Sotheby’s regional empire. But, as the firm marks 10 years as a specialist auction house in Sussex, it is looking to new horizons

Summers Place Auctions

“If we build a gallery, will you get us a dinosaur to fill it?”

There are precious few salerooms in the country that could accommodate a diplodocus or a Cold War-era missile. Fewer still that would know where to find them.

Summers Place Auctions is an operation like no other in the UK fine art scene. Biannual sales of garden statuary and architectural antiques have been held here, the site of a Victorian manor house near Billingshurst, Sussex, for three decades. And James Rylands has seen every one of them.

As he samples the Welsh rarebit at the nearby roadside cafe, he recalls the formative years when in 1979, as an art history graduate turned dustman, he attended an interview for a job at Sotheby’s.

Removing his earring for the occasion, Rylands greeted director Roger Chubb with his first impressions: “The staff have been extremely rude – and they didn’t know who you were.”

Somehow, adopting this high-risk strategy, he found himself being offered a job at Bearnes. The West Country firm was three years into a partnership with Sotheby’s and based at the Rainbow, a mansion overlooking Torbay.

Rylands had earned £80 a week on the bins. The equivalent wage as a Sotheby’s junior cataloguer was £40.

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About Antiques Trade Gazette

Antiques Trade Gazette is the essential publication for everyone with a serious interest in art, antiques and collectables. Every week it is packed with up-to-the-minute news on the market, with individual items beautifully illustrated throughout. Since 1971 it has been the most reliable source of information on what is really happening at auctions in the UK and around the world. Each issue is filled with auction advertisements and detailed auction reports written by expert journalists. The Dealer’s Diary section keeps readers constantly updated on what is happening at the fairs and markets and in the galleries and shops. Market professionals and serious collectors throughout the world rely on ATG to keep them informed on developments and issues which shape the art market. It is here that they learn about the prices achieved at auction in every area - from antiquities to pop memorabilia, from impressionist paintings to Chinese art. With 500 or more art objects pictured, every issue is a treat to the eye and a visual education. Whatever the topic Antiques Trade Gazette is well-informed, up-to-date and entertaining.

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