6 October 2018

Patrick Boyd Carpenter: ' It’s a Proper Old Fashioned Antique Shop...'

When Patrick Boyd Carpenter moved to Grays Antiques, it was 1986 and he was only 19 years old. Previously, he was running a successful business dealing in contemporary art in The Church Gallery on Bryanston Street, Marble Arch. Obsessed with art and antiques; he bought his first antique object, a case of taxidermy birds, when he was just six years old. We paid a visit to his shop at Grays to find out more ...

Clockwise from top left : Mid 19th.Century Victorian Watercolour Portrait of a Young Scholar: 19th Century Victorian Watercolour of a scene from Hamlet, attributed to Philip Francis Stephanoff : 18th Century German Wax Relief Portait of Karl Anselm : 1970's Acrylic on Panel 'Three Dancing Figures' by Jessica Gwynne. 


Patrick, please tell us:  why Grays ? 

Well, Grays is the best place for antiques! In those days there were still several antique markets of course. But Grays was always the best, and there was a waiting list to get in. I was interviewed by Bennie Gray. He asked me if I had reserve stock before considering me for a space, because stock was selling so fast. And it was very busy. The antiques business has changed a lot over the years.

In what way would you say the business has changed ?

I moved from dealing in contemporary art to antiques early on following the closure of The Church Gallery in 1988. You have to follow the market; today I deal in a completely different type of item than I used to. I used to specialise in antique prints and English watercolours. They fell out of fashion, though I have noticed that the watercolours are beginning to rise. Items I sold years ago, I am happy to buy back. Luckily, I have many private collectors who are often willing to part with choice items. I also make a good living by buying ‘auctioneers mistakes’. Mis- catalogued items. Just between you and me, many auction houses are not the experts they pretend to be!

That’s very exciting!  What do you like to buy ?

I buy anything I like that’s handmade and good quality from the last five hundred years. And I travel everywhere, though nowadays the items tend to come to me. I just bought an amazing collection of Eduardo Paolozzi sculptures. He was an extraordinary figure within British art. He was a Scottish artist of Italian heritage, who lived in Paris, and was established in Chelsea. Influenced by Giacometti and the Surrealists, now much of his work is exhibited at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. It’s a remarkable addition to my stock I am very happy about.

How would you describe your collection ?

I buy from the gut. I buy what I like and what I can afford. That way you don’t lose. In terms of stock, I’ve got a good selection, Master drawings, sculptures, oils, textile, and prints. I am one of the last of the general high quality antique dealers.  I sell in my Grays shop and on social media.  Everybody comes to W1 and people know that I am here.  Whenever I have new stock come in – my customers are quick to pick up on it and it usually sells quickly. But you’ve got to put a bit of yourself into the business. Some of the time I am a therapist to customers. I know people come here to talk to me. And maybe they buy the item they are interested in too!

Tell us what do you personally most like?

My collection is British and European art, and I particularly like drawings. I feel it’s the brain on paper. I like the immediacy. The preparatory drawing is often more spontaneous than the finished work.

May I say that I really like this owl painting, would you tell me something more about it ?

It’s a 1920s oil painting of a Tawny Owl by Lodewijk Van Der Steen 1891-1954, circa 1928. A really unusual subject. I like to have something for everyone in the shop. No one should leave empty handed, and this is one great painting of an owl!

Interviewed Tuesday 25th September 2018 by Titika Malkogeorgou

Feast your eyes on some of the fabulous, fascinating and eclectic items available right now at Patrick Boyd Carpenter Fine Art...

Emma Raimbach 1810-1882 Watercolour double portrait Signed and Dated

Eleazar Albin Hand Coloured Copper Engravings Early 18th Century From The Natural History of Birds. 1st Edition

George Thomas Paice 1854-1925. Oil on Canvas "Zebba" 1913

16th Century Carved Limewood Madonna by Franconia, Follower of Tillman Reimenschneider

Sir Eduardo Paolozzi Maquette for 'Camera' c.1878

Medieval Manuscript Page.14th.Century. Calligraphy on Vellum

Denis William Reed R.W.A 1917-1979. Oil on canvas. The Minstrel.

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