Antique Dealer Archives — online seminar

Hosted by the Furniture History Society, this online seminar focuses on the Antique Dealer archives held in the Brotherton Library's Special Collections at the University of Leeds.

The antique dealer archives, generously donated by leading antique dealers to the Brotherton Library Special Collections at the University of Leeds, has brought together, for the first time, an extraordinary range of historic business archives of several well-known antique furniture dealers such as Phillips of Hitchin and Ronald A. Lee.

This event, chaired by Dr Mark Westgarth, brings leading dealers Jerome Phillips and Martin Levy in conversation with Joanne Fitton, Head of Special Collections, and Karen Sayers, lead archivist, at the Brotherton Library Special Collections, to explore the riches of these archives.

The event will highlight key items in the archives, some of which date back to the 1880s, as well as outlining their history and how they came to Leeds.

There will also be an opportunity to direct questions to the participants and to hear about plans for the future of these increasingly important resources.

Booking information

The talk will be hosted online by The Furniture History Society

Booking details

About the speakers

Mark Westgarth is Associate Professor in Art History and Museum Studies at the University of Leeds. He is founder and Director of the Centre for the Study of the Art & Antiques Market in the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies. He was Principal Investigator on a major AHRC funded research project that explored the history of the antiques trade in Britain in the 20th century (2013-2016) and is currently Principal Investigator on an AHRC project Antique Dealers, Art Markets and Museums (2019-2020).

Martin Levy is an Antique Dealer and has, since the 1980s, lectured in the UK and the USA contributing articles, exhibition reviews, book reviews and letters to numerous publications. From 2002-2013 he was Treasurer of Furniture History Society, and Council member (1994-96). In 1998 he was elected as a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London, in 2014 he was awarded the Iris Foundation Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Decorative Arts and in 2019 the Society Medal awarded by Society of Antiquaries of London.

Jerome Phillips is the grandson of Frederick W. Phillips (1856-1910), the founder of the world-famous antique dealers Phillips of Hitchin. The business was established in 1884 and remained at the Manor House, Hitchin for over 130 years. Jerome took over the business in 1962, following the death of his father Amyas, and continued to run the business until his retirement in 2015; Phillips of Hitchin sold antiques to some of the most important antique furniture collectors of the 20th century as well and many of the world’s leading museums.

Joanne Fitton is Head of Special Collections at the Brotherton Library at the University of Leeds, where she has been since 2011. Joanne is responsible for the library’s cultural and heritage collections and also leads the University Galleries and Art on Campus. Joanne has served on the Board of the National Council for Archives. She is an assessor on the Archives and Records Association.

Karen Sayers is a registered archivist and has been archivist in the Brotherton Library Special Collections for over 10 years. Her responsibilities include organising and cataloguing collections, processing new acquisitions, and promoting collections through external catalogues and Wikimedia. Karen has also worked at the British Library.


F.W. Phillips, Hitchin, c.1910. Image courtesy of Kate Hay, V&A.