SOLD! The Great British Antiques Story to be opened by Lennox Cato

SOLD! The Great British Antiques Story to be opened by Lennox Cato

26 January until 5 May

The Bowes Museum is delighted to announce that SOLD! The Great British Antiques Story will be officially opened on Friday 25 January by the TV presenter and antique dealer Lennox Cato.


This intriguing show, which runs until 5 May, will take visitors on a journey through 200 years of antique dealing from Dickens to Lovejoy.


It’s the first time the history of the trade has been the subject of an exhibition in a museum, with an in depth look at antique dealers, their taste and eye for objects, their shops and practices.


SOLD! tells the back story of 33 stunning internationally renowned objects, some loaned by major museums including The V&A, The British Museum, The National Gallery, The Royal Collection, Lady Lever Art Gallery, Preston Park, Temple Newsam, The Royal Armouries,  previously unseen objects on loan from private collectors and items from our own collections.


Visitors will be able to peer through the windows of an ‘Old Curiosity Shop’ from the 1850’s, showing what an antique was then, compared to what an antique is today.


Guest curator, Dr Mark Westgarth of the University of Leeds, said: “SOLD! gives a rare insight into the world of antique dealing and tells the intriguing story of the objects before they were housed in museums.


“It looks at the relationships between the art market and museums, including some of the more controversial practices of the trade such as auction ‘rings’ and of course fakes.”


Jane Whittaker, Head of Collections at The Bowes Museum, said: “It’s really special that The Bowes Museum is the first place to hold an exhibition dedicated to the history of the antique trade.


“Our founders, John and Joséphine Bowes, sourced much of their collection from dealers throughout Europe so I believe they would have been delighted that their Museum is hosting this pioneering show, featuring their finds alongside many breath-taking objects including an exquisitely beautiful Ming dynasty bowl on loan from The British Museum.”


There will be a series of events and talks held alongside the exhibition starting with Lennox Cato in conversation with SOLD! curator Mark Westgarth at 11am on Saturday, where you can find out more about Lennox’s life as an antique dealer and TV antiques specialist.


There will also be exhibition tours at 2.15pm on 5 and 21 February, 5 and 21 March, 4 April, and 2 May which will last for approximately 20 minutes.


We’ll also have an art-market themed Game-A-Thon, with prizes for winners, at 2.15pm on Saturday 9 March, where visitors can unleash their inner antique dealer playing vintage games such as ‘Swindle’, ‘Masterpiece’, ‘Antiques Roadshow’ and ‘Modigliani’.


For more information about these and future events and to book your place please see our website


The Bowes Museum wishes to thank the funders: The Furniture History Society, The Worshipful Company of Art Scholars, The Society for the History of Collecting, The Anthony and Elizabeth Mellows Charitable Settlement, The University of Leeds and Antique Dealers; Ronald Phillips Fine Antique English Furniture, John Beazor Antiques, Tennants Auctioneers, Tomasso Brothers Fine Art and Jonathan Harris.

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