December 1, 2023

Jon White and Steve Bucknell

Jon White and Steve Bucknell in front of the auction house site.

RWB Auctions

A new auction house planned in Royal Wootton Bassett has got planning permission to convert a former high street supermarket into a saleroom and gallery with café.

The auction house, called RWB Auctions, has been set up by silverware and coin dealer Jon White who already runs antiques centre Old Bank Antiques next door to the premises (which opened in 2019).

The new property will undergo extensive renovations over the next year with the first sale planned for 2023.


One of the plans for the front of the new auction house.

RWB Auctions’ general manager is fellow dealer Steve Bucknell (pictured above) and the firm is also searching for specialists and a head auctioneer to help launch and run the business.

White said: “The last few years have been difficult for British high streets but I’m passionate about the positive impact that independent business can bring to places like Royal Wootton Bassett.”

RWB plans general and specialist sales with viewing days in person and online.

Bucknell  said: “We’ve got a lot of work to do in the meantime’ said Bucknell, ‘but it’s all systems go now and we’ll be charting the whole process on our website and Facebook page.”

View RWB Auctions’ recruitment advert here.


Eleanor Walper

Christie’s Jewels has appointed Eleanor Walper.

Christie’s Jewels has appointed Eleanor Walper as associate vice president and specialist at Christie’s in Los Angeles. Walper started her career at the saleroom in 2014. She has also worked at Bonhams and The New York Loan Company. At Christie’s she will be responsible for client development on the West Coast.

Apelles Fine Art Services

James Birtwistle

James Birtwistle has set up Apelles Fine Art Services.

Apelles Fine Art Services, a firm specialising in end-to-end practical management and maintenance of artwork, has been founded by James Birtwistle in response to what he sees is a lack of practical hands-on experience with paintings and drawings.

His experience includes working in a restoration and antique frame studio in Florence, for Cabinet Turquin in Paris and for dealership John Mitchell in London for nearly 10 years.

He says: “There is certainly no shortage of art advisers or dealers in today’s art business, but there aren’t that many people with a confident understanding on condition that can advise and find you the right specialist, be that a restorer, framer, hanger for paintings bought direct form auction or inherited. As more and more buyers purchase at auction online there is a greater need than ever to assist them with all the practical elements that follow the successful bid.”

In addition to supporting buyers, Birtwistle is keen to help craftspeople such as traditional framers and mount makers. These and similar trades are growing scarcer as there are fewer places for young artisans to learn the relevant skills.

He adds: “I am planning to make Apelles a ‘front of house’ for craftsmen, where they can meet with clients and have a space to collect and deposit works that is close to the big West End auction houses.”

He is based on 17 Avery Row, Mayfair, which also houses John Mitchell Fine Paintings and the antique framer Paul Mitchell.


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