Four Rooms, Four Dealers: Gordon Watson

The canny trader reveals his best deals this series


The larger-than-life, slightly camp one with a habit of descending into a mass of seething resentment and slammed doors when he misses out on a deal.


What was your best deal of the series?

The purchase of the fantastic and beautiful chandelier by the world-renowned designer Ingo Maurer, entitled “Birds Birds Birds”. This chandelier has become a design classic and the fact that the piece I bought was a special order — a one-off, so to speak — makes it so much more desirable and ultimately valuable!!

Was there a piece you desperately wanted that you didn’t manage to get your hands on?

I desperately wanted the Gilbert and George “Gordon Gin” ashtray. When it sold to another dealer I was incandescent with anger. I am afraid I had a major strop, on TV. Embarrassing.

Have you made a decent profit on anything you’ve bought during the series?

I have made a reasonable profit so far — the real profits are in three items that I am not so eager to part with just yet.

How do you know so much about such a wide range of subjects? Do you take advice?

I have been involved in the top end of the art and antique world since I was 20 years old. I have a very wide spectrum of interests and passions. I am always curious and obsessed by new fields of interest, consequently I’ve become a repository of weird and arcane snippets of knowledge. I can barely remember my own name sometimes but I NEVER forget an object or its history.

And finally, what will you offer me for a collection of leatherbound volumes of every single Radio Times since 1923?


Thank you so much for your very kind offer but I must decline.