Home' Scoop Homes and Art : Insite 25 Winter 2010 Contents INSITE WINTER 81
ANTIQUES DEALER UP CLOSE
Countless days doing odd jobs in
his grandmother's secondhand
shop and evenings watching his
auctioneer father balance the day's
takings planted the seed for what would
one day become Clive Brans' passion for
wheeling and dealing antiques.
After an initiation selling "good silver
and lots of junk" at the Fremantle Markets,
Clive set about becoming one of Australia's
most knowledgeable and respected antiques
dealers. Although his son John now runs
the business, which they share 50/50,
Clive still gets a thrill from the hunt and
from snatching up a rare piece from under
someone's less-knowledgeable nose.
However, he's quick to point out that
he doesn't love all antiques. "In fact, many
I hate with a loathing," he says from his
Mosman Park home, which has almost as
many antiques as his nearby shop Brans
Antiques and Art.
Bright modern paintings complement an
eclectic collection of antiques from myriad
eras and corners of the globe, creating the
warmth that Clive says every home needs.
" ough this is probably a bit overdone,"
he says, gesturing around his living room.
"You wouldn't want to photograph this."
[However, we'd beg to differ.]
He goes on to describe what he does enjoy
about antiques. "I love them if they have
good design, great shape and form; love
them if they have great colour and patina,
which gives them an individuality that can
only be achieved over time. I love the fact
that two identical pieces used in different
places and positions can have a completely
different look after 100 years.
"I love the fine workmanship and the
history behind both the item and the
manufacturers and designers," he says.
"I love the warmth they can give a home. I
particularly love the way that the right items
can be mixed with ultra-modern furniture
to change an average modern aluminium,
glass and concrete box into something
warmer and more liveable."
Clive believes his passion began as a small
boy in London, where his father worked
for a company called WE Coe & Company,
which eventually became Christie's
South Kensington. "Today, it would be
the most successful auction room in the
country," explains Clive. "I used to go to
the auction rooms and muck around, and
my grandmother had a secondhand shop in
Lillie Road in Fulham."
Clive describes how "junk" was sold in
his grandmother's shop, as well as items that
would be considered good antiques today.
"In those days, if someone rang the
auction room about Victorian furniture, they
would suggest it went to the tip, unless it
was something really special," laughs Clive.
"But she also dealt in all sorts of junk
and rubbish. One of my jobs on a Sunday
morning was to go and smash up marble
clock cases to take out the brass movement
to give to the scrap man. It makes me
laugh that today those clocks can sell for
thousands of dollars."
Antiques dealer Clive Brans relaxing at his home in his living
area with an 18th-century chinoiserie cabinet (behind) and an
AD Roman sculpture of Eros stealing Aphrodite's goose.
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