Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Friday, 28 November 2014
99 percent of antique-dealers are rotters
I have been looking after these dogs for about 25 of their 377 years of existence, and between yesterday and today, I have spent a solid 6 hours beginning an attempt to secure their future for when I am no longer able to.
There are three of them, and this is the only one which has not needed my physical care and attention in it's long life, mainly because it is a lot beefier than its brothers, and also a lot higher up, out of reach of malicious hands.
They currently belong to a local government, who purchased the wall they sit on in order to demolish it in a road-widening scheme, but they have since built a by-pass and these dogs are - almost literally - mill-stones around their necks.
I have begun the long and tortuous process of getting them listed so that they cannot - as I have stopped twice in the past - be taken down and sold to antique-dealers of the most unscrupulous kind.
The two I know of would sell their mothers for a profit, and one of them actually said to me, "What good are they up there? Far better that they are taken down and appreciated for what they really are." Yeah, right.
Another one came into my workshop about 20 years ago and when he spotted the dog, his eyes flashed for an instant - like Gollum's - before he professionally composed himself and asked what it was doing there with an air of disinterest.
"Is it for sale?" There was a distinct but forced tone of 'I will take it off your hands' in his voice. I said that it was, indeed, for sale, but I was not going to part with it for less than £xxx. I deliberately undervalued it by a factor of about 2000, and his response was very revealing.
"Does that include the restoration?"
I sweetly smiled at him and he realised he had been had.
"YOU FUCKING BASTARD!" He returned to his old self as if he had just picked up The Ring, and stormed out. He has never forgiven me.
The other dealer was once tangentially involved with an article I made for a super-famous musical and theatrical impresario, when I was called to his converted priory to discuss a fountain bowl he needed as a water-feature in the garden.
We went into the garden, then Sir X pointed to an extremely large, male, stone figure in one corner which he had just bought from the dealer for around £50,000, saying that the bowl needed to compliment some details on the '17th century statue'. The statue was made of Vicenza stone, and easily recognisable as being no older than about 30 years, and worth no more than about £5000 tops.
The bastard dealer had put me in a very difficult position indeed, and the gardener gave me a sideways look which I furtively returned. Should I tell Sir X and embarrass him, or should I just keep my mouth shut and hope for the worst?
Of course, it would only be a matter of time before Sir X learned the truth of the matter, and it would be an even shorter period of time before he understood that I had been in some way complicit in the deal, whether I had been or not.
I have not heard from Sir X since, so I think that time has passed.