collecting has become an all-consuming passion. In fact he goes so far
as to say, with a wry smile, that there is often something very
addictive in the process: “When you see something you want, the heart takes over the head; sense and logic go out of the window and you just have
to have it” he explains. He now has more time to indulge his hobby and
one senses he makes the most of it. At first glance, Mark’s cabinet
appears a rather eclectic mix, but in fact each piece in his collection
of 20th Century decorative items, has been carefully selected for its quality
and design, and for being representative of its era.
from a young age; Mark describes himself as an ‘arty type’ who was
always fascinated by design and loved drawing. An only child he grew up
never knowing his grandparents and puts his interest in antiques partly
down to wanting a link to a past that he never knew. He always enjoyed
poking around in junk shops, buying the odd piece, but it wasn’t until
the mid-90’s when he visited Vienna that the interest really began: “I
was amazed by the amount of Austrian Art Nouveau pieces available to buy
in the shops there” he recalls. He started collecting German Jugenstil
and English Arts & Crafts and became fascinated with Bauhaus and
Modernism, then Art Deco – and with how one style led to another: “It
all seemed to fall together like a jigsaw” he says.
specialist interest is in Viennese Secessionism (c.1900-1918), a
movement which rejected academic tradition and conservatism and,
advocated freedom of style and subject across the arts. It was a period
of prolific activity and although pieces are now harder to find, Mark
regularly visits Vienna and still finds the odd Secessionist gem; such
as an embellished glass bowl by Johann Oetl Haida or a silver trinket box by Josef Margold. He also has some interesting Art Nouveau pieces including a pair of iridescent green Art Nouveau vases by Joseph Rindskopf & Sons which are typical of the period.
For those interested in the mid-late 20C there are many treasures. Scandinavian design is ever-popular, and pieces such as a Georg Jensen hand mirror or a set of 1950’s silver-gilt Danish teaspoons
make wonderful gifts. And the occasional piece of delightful kitsch
can also be found: A vintage Larry the Lamb porcelain figurine sits
demurely between a Gothic Revival brass lidded urn and a Viennese 1930’s brass pin tray from which a miniature female golfer swings a tiny club.
interest adds an extra dimension to travel; “I don’t just go to
places to find stuff but it’s the icing on the cake if I do” he says.
And of course there is a buzz in finding something when the seller
doesn’t know its worth; although, as he says, it works both ways; “I
might have bought something which I know is a particular style, but
don’t know a lot about; which for someone else might be a real find. But
that’s how it should be – it’s no fun if everything is at the market
rate and there are no surprises”.
admits he prefers buying pieces, to selling them; “But that’s why I
like having a collection here – someone else sells it for me” he laughs.
He appreciates the network of specialists found within The Old Cinema,
and says the place has a very special charm; “There’s no competition for
this place; it’s like a tardis – you never know what you are going to