Auction Trends Lowdown with John Black

Specialist John Blacks talks to us about the current auction trends, explaining to us what's in demand, what's lost its appeal and why you should simply buy what you like and enjoy! 

John Black

What's in demand?
Modern and Contemporary art is surging, with a huge thirst for paintings and prints. The bidders are looking for items to collect, enjoy, and which are ready to hang. World markets are still volatile - so why not invest in art instead and take enjoyment from it at the same time?

Post-war design is another area which is seeing growth. Items that are coming on the market now were bought in the fifties and sixties, which saw buyers look to the future, rather than looking to the past. Tapping into this were shops like Heal's and Oscar Woollens, who were selling new designs from the UK, US, Scandinavia, France and Italy.


What’s lost its appeal?
Since I started in this business over twenty years ago, I have seen the downward trend in ‘brown’ furniture.  Victorian carved walnut furniture has seen the biggest hit. With the pandemic, we saw the need for families to have their own spaces – is this the end of open area dining/living? Probably not…but there is a growing trend to mix-up eras within the home. 

And also a shout-out for printed fabrics – who knows, the 1980s may be coming back...!


What you should be buying?
I always say to clients and friends, buy what you like and enjoy – don’t buy as an investment necessarily. Our business really is all to do with recycling.  I love the thrill of helping our vendors find the best home for their items - as well as the best price!  Peter Collingwood, the master weaver, was the best in his field, and if there was one lot from our next 20th Century Design Sale I would encourage someone to purchase, it would be his wall hanging (estimate £8,000-12,000).

Peter CollingwoodPeter Collingwood (1922-2008), 'M.72 No.3'
a microgauze wall hanging, of woven cream linen and steel, signed on label and stamped with number


For more information please contact John Black | 01279 817778


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