If you find yourself in London between February 11 and 14, you’ll pat yourself on the back if you make time to visit a jovial pop-up shop in the city’s decorative antiques hub at 315 Lillie Road in Fulham called AYG in Love. The Valentine’s Day-themed offerings organized by an inventive group of antiques dealers who’ve dubbed themselves Antiques Young Guns (AYG) are being curated by AYG co-founder George Johnson of Lady Kentmores and AYG-of-the-Year finalist Lily Trunfull.
These AYG heavyweights warn it will be difficult not to fall in love with the choreographed array of design choices for sale, which will include a rare c1865 bentwood Thonet rocking chair (which represents mid-century modern royalty), an early 19th-century Scandinavian settee, a vintage lead cherub sculpture for the garden, various items of architectural salvage, and a late Victorian burr walnut boxed decanter set for the dining room.
AYG members describe their collaborative, which began as a UK competition to identify the Antiques Young Gun of the year, in their story “so far” by noting, “The competition was open to anyone under 39 years of age who makes their living from the world of antiques, vintage or collectables. We had hundreds of entries from across the spectrum, including people who are working for auction houses, learning how to be restorers, organizing regional and international fairs, and, of course, dealing. Our youngest entrant was 17!”
The first winner of the competition, Timothy Medhurst—then a 21-year-old auctioneer and coin specialist at Reeman Dansie Auctioneers was announced at an exclusive cocktail reception and gala at The Decorative Antiques and Textiles Fair on April 25, 2013. The competition was part of National Antiques Week that year, and was organized by Gail McLeod of Antiques News & Fairs, George Johnson, and Mark Hill.
One look at the images embedded in this post proves this might be your grandmother’s idea of antiques but they’re getting an entirely new lease on life. Making this point heard, the group proclaims, “Many think the antiques world is dry, dusty and staid and certainly not a place for career-driven, intelligent and entrepreneurial young people. Not so! In fact, there are many more than you’d think.” Not only do they consider themselves the future of the antiques trade, they are cheerfully thriving, proving it to be so.
In addition to the pop-up store, the AYG website will run a virtual pop-up gallery from February 11th through March 11th in case you can’t make it to Londontown. You can keep up with news by following them and their hashtag #AYGINLOVE on Twitter. I look forward to meeting some of them when I am in London for The Decorative Fair in April. I’ll let you know about their smoking hot attitude once I’m back.
Text of A Valentine from Antiques Young Guns © Saxon Henry, all rights reserved. Saxon Henry is an author, poet and journalist based in New York City. Books include Anywhere But Here and Stranded on the Road to Promise.