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Will Farmer, BBC Antiques Roadshow Specialist
  1. Can you tell us a bit about your background and what drives your passion for the industry?

    I have been involved in Fine Art & Antiques since childhood, growing up in surrounded by antiques and the thrill of the chase in finding the next great find. My late mum was an avid collector with a fantastic eye who’s passion was infectious! I began collecting from around the age of 6 years old with an early interest in silver, this then changed to German toys and then around the age of 11 years old I discovered my true passion for ceramics, particularly Art Deco. Over the years my tastes have grown to include all areas of 20th Century design with a particular obsession for Art Deco and Mid-Century Modern. Having had a brief fling with the world of dealing I realised that my natural habitat was actually the auction rooms and after a brief apprenticeship at a saleroom in Birmingham I established Fieldings Auctioneers in 2001 with my business partner Nick Davies. Over the last 20 years my careers has expanded to include writing for a large number of magazines, writing a number of books on 20th Century design and also appear on a number of TV programmes including Going for a Song, Flog it, 20th Century Roadshow and of course the Antiques Roadshow which I have been fortunate enough to be involved with for over 11 years now.


  2. What area(s) of art and antiques do you specialise in?

    I’m a 20th Century design nut! I love the varied and adventurous designs from all styles across this period from Art Deco to 70’s Retro! Whether its furniture, art, glass or ceramics the wide and varied styles of the last 100 years have become an obsession for me! I suppose though I am best known for my love of ceramics and glass which are the foundation of my career.


  3. What has been your most memorable discovery?

    There are many, probably too many to mention, and certainly too many to remember! In a work capacity it would have to be the consignment of an outstanding collection of Clarice Cliff which was owned by a collector in New York! An initial brief email turned into two transatlantic trips and many hours with some of the best examples of this fantastic designers work. In my role on the Antiques Roadshow there are a number of moments which stick in my mind including a stunning Pierro Fornasetti desk discovered in Jersey (a piece today I still covet), a small Lalique box found in Port Sunlight and purchased by the owner for just 19p yet valued for £1000 and most recently a collection of Martin Brothers Pottery found in Deal which I valued at over £100,000! Personally my best find was a Czechoslovakian cut glass vase by Vladimir Zahour for Podebrady! It was found in a small flea market in Berlin for just 35 Euros….the last one I saw for sale was exhibited at the last Antiques For Everyone on Jeanette Hayhurst’s stand carrying a price ticket in excess of £1000!


  4. BBC Antiques Roadshow has been reported to having significantly higher viewing figures than TV shows like Top Gear – why do you think there has been such a surge in nationwide interest in antiques?

    I don’t believe that this is a new surge! If you look at the viewing figures the Antiques Roadshow has held a continually strong position for many, many years! It remains a jewel in the crown for the BBC and one of the highest viewed factual/lifestyle shows on TV. It continues to inform, enlighten and entertain audiences week after week and is held in such high esteem with the British people. Everyone loves a great story, and better still everyone loves a great valuation. The Roadshow is an institution which has borne out a large number of other popular antique programmes. We are a nation with a great history and a wealth of objects which continue to intrigue us.


  5. What top tips do you have for buying art and antiques in the current market, for both the seasoned and the new collector?

    I always think there is one simple rule to collecting, you have to love it!


  6. What advice do you have for making the most out of an art and antiques fair such as Antiques for Everyone?

    Take your time and speak with the dealers. This fair is a collection of some of the top dealers across the country gathered together in one room ready to share their knowledge. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, the dealers have years of knowledge and experience they are more than happy to share. Such conversations are the starting point of long friendships with people who will help you build your collections over the following years.


  7. What sets Antiques for Everyone apart from other fairs?

    Antiques for Everyone is unique in that it offers a vetted fair with a huge range of items starting from as little as a few pounds through to many tens of thousands! As such it provides the perfect platform for everyone from novice to seasoned collector.


  8. Do you have any final words of wisdom you wish to add?

    This is one of the most exciting, interesting and adventurous worlds you could dive in to so get out there any enjoy yourself!