Wardrobes, like Davenport desks and polescreens, are impossible to sell. Every dealer regrets that impulse that causes them to buy one. And yet some dealers thrive on them. The point is that this business is intensely personal and very private. Dealers don’t want you to know anything about their inventory other than it is for sale. For a time in the 1980’s, dealers could be seen bidding at auction, but no more. Nobody wants their purchases scrutinized.
Partridge Fine Arts has reduced the value of their inventory by ten million pounds, down from twenty-eight to eighteen million. Perhaps the greatest dealers in the 20th century, the firm used to be prominent in the sale rooms, sitting right up front buying the best things that they could. John Partridge says that the value of his inventory has diminished. I don’t think so. I think that they haven’t changed with the times.