Published 20th June 2023
By Cristian Beadman View profile
Cristian Beadman is Devonian through and through, but did do his stint in London -a decade at Christie’s, followed by fifteen years at Dreweatts in Berkshire. He’s been back in Devon a few years now and has taken up the Chairman’s role at Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood, where he also oversees the Furniture and European Works of Art departments.
You’ll also see Cristian working as one of the Expert Presenters on the BBC’s long running and hugely watched Antiques Roadshow, which he has been involved with for ten years now. A west country venue inked in for Friday 23rd June is Dorset’s Swanage Pier, where Cristian will be hoping to unearth some riches, or if not at least some pieces with interesting tales to tell.
Much of Cristian’s time is spent in visiting clients’ homes and conducting valuation appraisals, whether for auction sale purposes, Probate Tax (IHT), Insurance or other formal purposes, and his experiences in this area would happily fill a book. The first ‘home visit’ he attended as a shy 23 year old in London turned out to be at a ‘house of ill repute’.
The quarterly Fine Sales at BH&L are what could be viewed as the ‘traditional’ auction sale, including antique furniture and works of art, pictures, carpets, china, glass and clocks. The cataloguing of the furniture and works of art in these sales is what takes up much of the rest of Cristian’s time. The market for antique furniture has been in the Doldrums for over two decades now with, as an example, 350 year old Jacobean oak dining tables selling for as little as double figures –a fraction of the cost of new ones in an out-of-town furniture store.
Cristian feels though that there are very definite signs of the long awaited recovery manifesting. Suddenly antiques are Green, -effectively second hand goods to be reutilised, and they certainly don’t have any kind of carbon footprint, something that modern furniture can put no claim to.
Auctions have been vibrant and busy events since the Lockdown, when people shut up in their houses but still receiving wages, realised that auctioneers were already fully geared up for online sales, and that pretty much anything could be had. The green argument, and also the ever-swinging pendulum of fashion is also pushing antiques back into favour, along with the still hugely affordable prices.
Cristian is pictured here with a sculpted white marble bust of Ares, almost certainly Roman, which will be included in The Summer Sale on 11th and 12th July at the Exeter salerooms.