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Clearly, the most difficult aspect of walking into an antique shop for most would-be buyers is knowing what it is you want to buy. "I will know it when I see it." Perhaps you will and perhaps you won't, but I find that most people want to be talked into buying something. I find that concept to be very difficult. The easiest clients for me are those people who feel a pull towards something.

You can see it in how they look at the piece and how they touch it. There is essential appreciation and a connectedness that you wish everyone would have to beautiful things. I can't imagine how the Earl Burlington was able to talk Robert Walpole, England's first Prime Minister, into building Houghton House in Norfolk. Along with William Kent, Burlington took charge of the design of the house, the interior and the exterior and in so doing created one of the greatest English houses.

Walpole must have been scandalized at the cost, or perhaps he wasn't, but he certainly would have been aware of just how Queen Anne looked upon Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough and her expenditures on Blenheim Palace.

The friendship did not survive that building project. The question that lies at the bottom of building or buying, taste notwithstanding, is money. You can have all the money in the world and not have taste. What is unforgivable is thinking that you have taste because you have money. The two bear no relationship to each other. Furthermore, it is clear that a masterpiece is not going to be inexpensive. The two great patrons of the Metropolitan Museum of Art for French furniture, the Wrightsman's and the Linsky's certainly came to understand that maxim. But then they knew what they wanted.