To celebrate International Women's Day this month on 8 March, Dreweatts' Fine Art department share their career insights in the latest edition of Berkshire Living magazine’s Women Mean Business feature.
Read the article below or click here for Berkshire Living March Edition (pg70 &71)
Meet Dreweatts' Fine Art department - Berkshire's own all-women team of passionate and talented picture specialists, very much holding their own in what is often still a traditionally male-dominated arena. Here the team share some of their own invaluable career insights and journeys, as well as how they ensure they still leave time for the other passions in their lives.
Dreweatts' Fine Art Team
Jennie Fisher | Head of Pictures
"The best part about my job is meeting interesting people and having the chance to see some amazing works of art. The worst part of the job is having to disappoint people... granny's heirloom is not always worth what they were led to believe!"
Jennie Fisher, Head of Pictures
"An all female team is relatively rare, particularly in a regional auction house, which traditionally are rather more male dominated than perhaps the London auction houses.
Getting women interested in the business isn't the issue and there are increasing numbers of women joining, but there's still a lot of work to do in terms of getting more women into specialist and management roles. You do need to persevere - it is very competitive but if you are passionate, people will see it.
Being inspired by those around me helps me stay passionate and happy - whether at home or at work. As a working mother of two young children, for me it's a question of balancing my workload with the demands of family life. We have a great team which makes work enjoyable... and we never know who or what might be on the horizon a single phone call can open up a whole new project. As for everyone, finding time for ourselves can be hard - but when I can, I like to run and try and set myself a few challenges throughout the year!"
Jennie's desert island painting? An early painting by Lucian Freud - Girl with a Kitten (1947) or Hotel Bedroom (1954)
Lucy Gregory | Picture Specialist and Auctioneer
"Travelling to meet fascinating clients and eclectic art collections in their private settings is what I love most about my job. Spending long hours lifting and shifting large, dirty pictures in cold, dark warehouses and attics... not so much!"
Lucy Gregory, Picture Specialist and Auctioneer
"I do like to keep challenging myself, and get out of my comfort zone - whether that involves doing a public talk about a picture, attending a networking event or agreeing to take particularly challenging auction. In October 2018, Francesca and I entered the NAVA Novice Auctioneer of the Year competition - a daunting experience but we loved it, and now both regularly auctioneer at Dreweatts. With Sotheby's Helena Newman being the only female auctioneer in the last thirty years to preside over the all-important evening sales, we're both determined to help ensure that gap continues to close. Being on the rostrum and taking a sale is a thrill hard to surpass.
We never want to lose sight of the most basic reason we do our job - our appreciation for art, So, we work together to meet deadlines so as not to take work home and protect that time for the other sides of life - which is handy as I still need to finish planning my wedding at the end of March!"
Lucy's desert island painting? Anything by Sir Edward Burne-Jones.
Francesca Whitham | Junior Specialist and Auctioneer
"Dreweatts is set in beautiful grounds beside the Lambourn river, and to be surrounded by interesting and unusual objects every day too - I do feel lucky. My current role includes research, cataloguing, insurance, probate and sale valuations - not forgetting the all-important social media and blog posts. I have a particular interest in provenance research and a day trip to the Victoria and Albert National Art Library is a treat for me."
Francesca Whitham, Junior Specialist and Auctioneer
"What I love is that no day is ever the same. You never know who you are going to meet, where you are going to visit or what you are going to view - it's exciting. It's also a privilege to visit our clients in their homes, view their private collections and get to know them. People often have a close connection with their objects - in particular paintings - and sometimes it's really hard to let go. We spend a lot of time with our clients over a cup of tea chatting about all sorts of things - it's not just art and work.
If you have a passion for art, this is an industry that can provide ample opportunity for driven, ambitious and determined women. Whether you want to go into marketing, dealing or down the specialist route it is a fast paced and exciting industry. To unwind I love to travel - my next adventure is to cycle South Africa's Cape Argus."
Francesca's desert island painting? The Arnolfini Portrait by Jan Van Eyck.
Dreweatts' Fine Art Department
We are always delighted to hear from anyone with a question or query about art - and can provide valuations and advice on any period of art history.
Next Fine Art Auction: Modern and Contemporary Art - 19 March 2020. Attend in person, online or via telephone.
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+44 (0) 1635 553 553 | email@example.com
View the Berkshire Living article here