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Our man in Westminster

The art market’s chief spokesperson pursues a policy of quiet diplomacy. Now armed with a new report on the British art market, Anthony Browne has something he wants to shout about

Anthony Browne

Anthony Browne represents the UK art market in Westminster but stresses he is “not a professional lobbyist”.
Photography: Chris Giles

The phrase “it is not what you know but who you know” rings true for lobbyists, those who operate in the shadows, trying to persuade government behind the scenes to shape legislation to suit their chosen course.

As one anonymous lobby man was once quoted: “The influence of lobbyists increases when it goes largely unnoticed by the public.”

But this is only half true for Anthony Browne of the British Art Market Federation, an Old Etonian who moves between the worlds of quiet diplomacy and more overt lobbying on the art market’s behalf. Browne is adopting the latter approach this week with the public launch of The British Art Market Report 2017, updated from 2014’s edition.

For his job is about what he knows – he’s a Christie’s lifer – and who he can get to know to ensure the art market’s interests are represented with policy makers.

Over the past 20 years he has been chairman of the umbrella body, getting to know key figures in government and parliament – from civil servants and special advisers to ministers and those sitting in the House of Lords.

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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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