The arts Society Gibraltar welcome Antique Roadshow Expert
Jo Ward talks to Marc Allum ahead of his lecture for The Arts Society Gibraltar on Wednesday, 20th April.
Marc Allum is a very eclectic person who derives his ideas, style and taste from a broad and diverse range of sources that make up his varied collections of antiques and collectables. It is no secret that Marc has a passion for classic cars and we talk as he has ventured out to his barn to start up his 1956 Citroen. “It’s such a lovely day so I can start to get the cars out of mothballs, and then I am going to head into Bath – where there is a brilliant exhibition of Tudor portraits,” he says.
Growing up in Coventry where his father was a trainee surveyor helping to rebuild the city, especially museums, Marc says that it was a fascinating place to be. “We then moved to Kenilworth, which I think of as home, and it was when I was about eight years old that my interest in antiques started,” he states. “Even though my parents didn’t particularly like antiques, they did enjoy taking us out, and Warwickshire was a very rich county for stately homes and country houses.”
Marc say that one of the first places that made a real impression on him was Snowshill Manor in Gloucestershire. “I never looked back after visiting it and was inspired by the collection of Charles Paget Wade who was the most eclectic collector, and I took a leaf out of his book and followed suit.” Marc goes on to say that he was mesmerised by a collection of Japanese armour. “I fulfilled my ambition to own a similar item and one of my most treasured possessions is a suit of early 19th Century Samurai armour which I have in my home, and it is the one that features on the opening titles of Antiques Roadshow,” he says proudly.
By the time he was a teenager, Marc was ‘a mad collector’ going to local auctions and starting to buy and sell a bit. Did his peers think he was a bit strange? “Well, I don’t think I was a strange boy, I had the same kind of interests that boys have, but I started playing the guitar when I was about 14 and then, of course, all I wanted to do was collect guitars.”
Marc is still obsessed with guitars and tells me that in the last two weeks he has bought three. “I just ran a fabulous guitar sale last week and I had one guitar that made £132,000 – which was pretty amazing – so it is funny how those childhood interests follow you through life.” Stating that he was very much an ‘Indie kid’ – “I was really into that post-Punk revolution” – his musical tastes have become more varied. “I’m as likely to put a bit of classical on, or a bit of hip-hop, Kate Bush or whatever takes my fancy – but considering my age I still like quite raucous music,” he laughs.
After completing a degree in English and Media, Marc decided that even though he was mad about antiques his career would be music based. “I got a job as a trainee sound engineer for Phonogram in London and after a year and a half I realised this was not the right course for me so I left and signed up with a new Sale Room in London – Roseberys – where I eventually became a shareholder, and we grew the company enormously until by the time I was 40 I literally ran out of steam,” he explains. Marc and his wife Lisa moved to France, bought an old chateau, restored it, and watched their daughter grow up. “We ran art and antiques courses out there – but during all that time I was also jetting backwards and forwards doing the Antiques Roadshow.” Known as the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow expert on all-things miscellaneous, Marc has appeared on the show for over twenty years.
Having been an Arts Society lecturer for the past five years, Marc is a keen supporter of the organisation which he thinks is enormously important. “Not only is it a socially good institution that brings people out and gets people together, but in more recent years it has such a varied offering with something for everyone,” he says.
“There is always new content to add in to my talks, and if you watched the Antiques Roadshow on the 27th March you will have seen an amazing object at the end of the show,” he divulges. “It is such a quirky and rare thing that I will have to include it in my lecture.”
Find out more when Marc presents ‘The Antiques Roadshow – Behind the Scenes and the Great Discoveries’ for The Arts Society Gibraltar on 20th April.
The illustrated talk is generously sponsored by the Sovereign Trust Gibraltar Ltd and Sovereign Insurance Ltd. Prior to the lecture there will be a presentation from the Sovereign Art Foundation – a charitable organisation founded in 2003 to recognise, support and promote contemporary art talent and to bring the therapeutic benefits of art to disadvantaged children. This will be followed by a wine tasting from Howard’s Folly vineyard in Portugal. The wine sold from this vineyard goes towards supporting the Art Foundation.
The event will be held at the Garrison Library, with doors opening earlier than usual at 6pm for Sovereign’s presentation. Marc Allum’s talk will commence at 7.30pm. Guests are welcome – £12.00 at the door.