Antique Dealers: the British Antique Trade in the 20th Century


The ‘Antique Dealers’ project is the first time that the history of the modern antiques trade has been subject to sustained critical academic study. This research project is part of a much wider series of research themes, all based on the history of antique dealing.  The project, which started in September 2013, was funded (£231,592) by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) one of the leading research funding bodies in the UK. The project is based at the University of Leeds. It seeks to map, contextualize and critically analyze the antiques trade as it has evolved and developed in Britain in the 20th century and to investigate the history of this fascinating and highly significant part of British cultural life. 

The Antique Dealers project interactive Map website aims to include all antique dealers trading in Britain over the course of the 20th century (1900-2000). The dealers included in the project are those that traded primarily in 'antiques' (i.e. 'Decorative Arts' rather than 'Fine Arts' - paintings); although you may find one or two picture dealers in the site as well if they changed trading practices from antiques to solely selling paintings, or vice-versa, at some stage in their trading life. 

We are constantly adding more antique dealers into the Map; we are currently concentrating on dealers trading in the period 1900-1970, but will be updating the Map will antiques dealers trading 1970-2000 as the project evolves.

The research project is seeking to draw attention to the changing nature of the antique trade over 100 years and once we have sufficient data, you will be able to investigate and, crucially, to visualise the trading the changes in the antique trade over time. The site will enable you to:

* see and compare the concentrations of dealers in various parts of Britain over time - when, for example, did The Cotswolds become a key location for the trade, and when did that change?

* track the different ways in which various dealers have been described and classified over time, and when for example, did dealers in 'Old English Furniture' emerge, and when did that term fall out of fashion?

* read about the changing history of individual dealerships as they move location, change ownership, or change trading specialisms.

* view photographs (if we have them) of dealer's shops - interiors and exteriors, to trace the changing tastes and fashions for display and marketing in British antique shops over the course of the 20th century.

To SEE how the landscape of the antique trade changed over time please use the SLIDER BAR (1900-2000) at the bottom of the MAP PAGE - as you move the SLIDER the map will change to illustrate the changing concentrations of dealers in various locations in Britain. You can get a more detailed picture of a particular area by clicking the map and the picture of the trade will move in to illustrate street level locations.

To FIND an individual dealership, click on the + - TOOL on the right-hand side of the MAP and move in and click on the little BLUE DOT that illustrates the specific location of a dealer; clicking on the little BLUE DOT will turn it into a little RED DOT and reveal (in a panel to the left-hand side of the screen) if we have any further information on the dealer.

You can search for specific dealers using the SEARCH Bar on the upper left side of the main screen.