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A memorial to Mallets with a subtle dig at a familiar face.

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In reading these words from one of the oldest and most esteemed English dealers in antique furniture and decor, it was hard to believe what they were really saying: that their business had all but dried up and vanished. This made me wonder: if all these clients demanding greater convenience and flexibility no longer wished to darken the doorway of a posh showroom in London or New York, where had they now gone?

One could scarcely believe that a firm dating back to 1865 had all of a sudden vaporized due to a “march of technology” and “ever-changing collecting trends.” But perhaps that is exactly what had happened. Here was a proud old firm steeped in tradition but short of cash. Hence their remaining inventory—chairs, bureaus, tables, rugs, tapestries, paintings, bric-a-brac, all of it rare and expensive and once deemed indispensable to a luxurious lifestyle—was to be liquidated, sold off at auction.

I discovered the particulars of the sale when the catalogue for it arrived in the mail. It looked like any other auction catalogue, with its bidding information, endless legalese in fine print, color photographs of the items on offer, estimates, provenance blurbs and the like. But this wasn’t just any old catalogue of the sort that arrives daily from the major auction houses and gets stacked into a pile and forgotten. It was something unique: a going-out-of-business catalogue.

To read more:

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You may also like to read:

* Mallett On Death Watch

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