Sworders New Kent Representative

Former Christie’s and Bonhams business-getter Mark Wilkinson to spearhead new initiative across the Thames
Our new specialist, Mark Wilkinson, is to take on an additional role as our regional representative, sourcing auction consignments in Kent.

“Although the main saleroom is located in Essex, we do not see the Thames as a barrier to business, and it makes sense to include areas south of the river in our quest to bring the best in art and antiques to auction,” says Wilkinson.

He is already developing a new sales format at our Stansted Mountfitchet salerooms as specialist in charge of Out of the Ordinary, an eclectic mix of art, antiques, design and collectables with a wow factor.

And he is ideally placed to attract the best in fine art, antiques and collectibles to Sworders from south of the Thames thanks to his unique track record as a leading business-getter for Christie’s over a period of 30 years.

This included helping to devise the ground-breaking Interiors sales at Christie’s South Kensington, effectively inventing a new approach to the auction process and tripling their turnover from £7.5m to £24m during the following five years as City types, younger buyers and families ventured into the Old Brompton Road rooms for the first time to rub shoulders with the dealers and collectors.

“I had the job of transforming a collector-based approach to a decorative/design/furnishing approach, and that meant cutting across traditional ways of cataloguing to present sales in a different way,” says Wilkinson.

Having also delivered sales with themes like 'Creatures' and ‘Fire & Light', Wilkinson then moved to Bonhams in 2015 to work his magic as as European Head of Decorative Arts.

That success led to him being asked to put together his Important Design sale, covering the past 500 years of collecting and design. Early furniture appeared in the catalogue alongside Lucy Rie pottery and even a version of the famous Lord Leighton bronze of an athlete wrestling a python, which went for a premium-inclusive £106,250 against a £50,000-80,000 estimate.

Now he considers Sworders to be the ideal auction house to pick up the mantle.

“The facilities, expertise and service levels are everything you would want in consigning your property to auction,” he explained. “Kent is a county with some the richest history and heritage, both as the Garden of England and the gateway to the continent. I am excited about the prospect of mining those riches uncovering some of its gems to create opportunities for new buyers and collectors to share in that heritage.”

Having moved on from cataloguing everything from ephemera and toys to posters and motoring art in the early 1980s, Wilkinson specialised in 20th century decorative arts, and was head of department at South Kensington from 1990 to 2000, as well as director of 20th century pictures.

His business-getting experience and leading role in devising new sales strategies from thereon in have already stood him in good stead and make him ideally placed to spearhead this new strategy with us at Sworders as we look to widen our influence in the region.

If you would like to make an appointment with Mark, he can be contacted via email on kentoffice@sworder.co.uk or phone on 01732 757675.



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