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

A. Rohan

Thomas Rohan (1860/1-1940) traded as an antique dealer between 1903 until his retirement in c.1937. He began trading as 'Thomas Rudd', a name he adopted because he did not wish to trade under his own family name, as Rohan suggests, 

       'How I took the trading name of Rudd was in this fashion. For family reasons I was asked not to use my own name as a dealer. I rather resented this, but for peace and quietness I agreed. Just before opening my little shop. I went to a sale, and bought a grand-father clock. The auctioneer called out my own name of Rohan. He said, "Rudd?" I said "Yes, put it down R U double D" and from that time for fifteen years I was known as Rudd.' (1). 

His first shop (Thomas Rudd) was located at 105 High Street, Southampton (1903 until 1918) before trading under the name of Rohan following a move to Post Office Arcade in Bournemouth (1917-1937).  Rohan (aka Roughan) was a well-known writer on antiques and collecting, publishing several books, including Old Beautiful (1926); Confessions of a Dealer (1924); Old Glass Beautiful (1926); In Search of the Antique (1927), and Billy Ditt, the Romance of a Chippendale Chair, 1760-1925 (1932).

Rohan is also suggested to be the basis for the character 'Joe Quinney' in the novel Quinneys (1914) written by Horace Vachell (2). The novel was also made into a play (1915) and was also made into a film Quinney's in 1919 and 1927.

Rohan married twice, the second time to the daughter of William Robertson J.P. D.L. of Pembrokeshire; he had three children, and was survived by a son, Robert Rohan. In 1936 he took up residence in Haslemere, Surrey (3) and at the outbreak of the Second World War Rohan gave up his business to live in Westbury, Bristol; he died on 13th January 1940 after collapsing in the street; his funeral took place at Westbury, Bristol on 17th January 1940 (4).


(1) Rohan, A. Confessions of a Dealer (1924), p.72.

(2) ibid., pp.71-72, & E. Montefiore, The Origin of "Quinneys" (n.d. c.1940?)

(3) Birmingham Times, 4th December 1936.

(4) Bournemouth Echo, 16th January 1940, 17th January 1940 & 27th January 1940.

Information from Bournemouth Echo and details on the life of Rohan kindly supplied by John Cresswell.

Trading Names

Thomas Rohan c.1918 - c.1937
T. Rudd Ltd 1903 - 1918


No Classifications


Dealer & Expert in Antiques 1919

Trading Classifications

No Trading Classifications


Mrs Alice Rohan c.1920 - c.1930
Thomas Rohan 1903 - 1937


BADA 1920

Objects Sold

No Objects Sold

Objects Bought

No Objects Bought