Dick Turpin | The Legend Lives On

Dick Turpin | The Legend Lives On

Sworders are extremely privileged to announce the sale of the contents of the West London flat of Maurice Turpin (1928-2005) in a single-owner sale on 25 January 2024.

24 November 2023



Maurice, known to all as ‘Dick’, was one of the foremost antiques dealers of the second half of the 20th century, who in his fifty-year career achieved truly legendary status, the enduring memories of the quality and calibre of the pieces that he dealt in only surpassed by those of his persona; a giant of a man with a large walrus moustache, scarcely seen without his trademark thick glasses, Harris tweed trilby and pipe, all of which accentuated by the curiously high-pitched voice that those who knew him cannot fail to affectionately imitate.


Born in Bow, East London, in 1928, the son of a fruit seller, he trained originally as a sound engineer, then working for the BBC, before taking up work as an antiques ‘runner’ in the summer of 1948, searching provincial shops and markets, sourcing goods to be sold on to those in the London trade. A couple of years later he opened his own small premises on Portobello Road, soon establishing himself as one of the industry’s most emphatic personalities.


Dick Turpin

 Dick Turpin (1928-2005)

During the ‘golden age’ of the antique furniture business, Turpin, along with his partner and friend, Colin Hart, was a regular at provincial auctions and house sales, revelling in the hustle and bustle of the saleroom, with the knock of the gavel often succeeded by the sound of his distinctive high-pitched voice, loudly congratulating a successful bidder whom he liked, or berating those he didn’t. It wasn’t only the UK and Europe that he scoured for fine antiques, but the United States also. He was one of the first British dealers to undertake frequent buying trips to America, leaving just as much of an impression on those across the Atlantic as he did here, once recouping an outstanding debt from a fellow dealer in the form of a small wine table that he selected from their stand at a fair, proudly walking away with it brandished above his head exclaiming, ‘This ought to settle the debt nicely!’.


Whilst a harrier to those to whom he took exception, to his friends he is credited as a man ofextraordinary kindness, good humour and generosity with his time and his vast knowledge. As an antiques dealer he was renowned, particularly for fine English furniture of the 18th century, but also possessing a formidable expertise in Renaissance bronzes, Continental furnishings, glass, porcelain and pictures. Following his death in 2005, his remaining stock was sold in two sales at Christie’s, titled ‘The Legend of Dick Turpin’, and their success serves as unequivocal evidence of the high esteem in which he was held.

 Dick Turpin - Upcoming lots

A range of upcoming lots in our Dick Turpin: The Legend Lives On Auction, taking place on 25 January 2024

The contents of his Barons Keep residence - comprising hundreds of spectacular, rare and meticulously chosen pieces of furniture, works of art and paintings, from Europe and Asia over the last several hundred years - typify his superb eye for quality and his passion for the objects to which he devoted his life, and Sworders are immensely proud to be able to play a part in the final chapter of this great story.

Dick Turpin Interior Nov 23


Dick Turpin: The Legend Lives On will be available in print and online from Friday 8 December.

Please contact fineinteriors@sworder.co.uk to request a copy




Thursday 25 January | 10am

fineinteriors@sworder.co.uk | 01279 817778










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