Q&A with Antiques master Marc Weaver from Guinevere
For Marc Weaver Antiques and vintage finds run in the blood. His mother set up Guinevere, the outstanding antiques company, at the height of the swinging sixties. The legacy continues through Marc, Heather (his wife) and his brother Kevin who now run the 8,000 square foot Chelsea showroom. The showrooms is a feast of antique delights, which takes you on a journey of discovery, offering a breath-taking selection of the finest pieces, spanning many periods and covering numerous continents. We sat down with Marc to ask him a bit more about working with family and what it was like growing up above the showroom.
Tell us a bit about how Guinevere Antiques was set up?
Guinevere Antique was set up by my mother in 1963. Her name was Genevieve and she was a hat designer. She liked changing the furniture at home but didn’t like the fact that new items were virtually worthless once it came to exchanging them.
She bought an antique dining table and when it was sold she made a profit. It was then that Genevieve saw a business opportunity and Guinevere was born.
What was it like growing up with such an artistic mother?
Difficult as I couldn’t understand why we didn’t have a normal house! Genevieve was single minded and knew what she liked and didn’t like.
Did you always want to go in to the antiques trade?
No, it was the last thing I wanted to do! It just took me a while to come around. Originally I would have liked to have been a jewellery dealer.
What was it like growing up above the showroom?
We lived for quite a while in a large house in Chelsea which was great and very convenient. But when my parents got divorced, I lived with my mother above the shop. I would often go there after school and hang out with whoever was working there and meet clients.
Do you think people should buy antiques as an investment or because they love the piece?
Definitely the latter! You must love it and then the combination of the pieces you choose become a reflection of your character. If it goes up in value, well that’s just a bonus.
What has been your favourite piece that you have bought?
I’m second generation and have been doing this already for 33 years. There have been too many to call a favourite, but possibly the first thing I bought and the last piece I just bought and sold.
If you could own one piece from the world of antiques, what would it be?
It would probably be a Greek period marble statue. I always say, when I grow up I would like a torso in the front entrance.
The showroom is a wonderful Aladdin’s Cave of exciting and beautiful pieces, how have you changed it since it was first opened?
It has grown considerably. After a while we stopped expanding and worked more on what was inside the walls – which changes constantly. We buy the items we like and our tastes are constantly influenced by our travels and what we see around us.
How has the company changed since it was first opened?
Guinevere didn’t use to have enough room for all of it’s stock, so everything was put out on the pavement! Now everything is carefully restored, catalogued and placed.
Guinevere Antiques always has the most wonderful window displays, what is the process behind these?
Dean runs the whole show! The pieces in them change constantly but the windows have a makeover three times a year. At the moment he has just completed a controlled chaos theme, inspired by the colours of the Italian High Renaissance.
How do you find the pieces that you sell?
We travel and look. If you stare at a screen you see only what you are offered. If you get out there, you discover and get seduced.
What is it like being part of a family run business and working with your brother?
At times difficult of course, but family businesses have the great advantage of taking the long term view.
What are your top tips on buying antiques?
Come to Guinevere of course! Failing that, then buy what you like. You are, after all, going to have to live with it. And also, buy the best you can afford.
What do you think your mother would think of Guinevere Antiques today?
I hope she would be proud.
Guinevere Antiques is a must visit, whether you are a collector, an aspiring collector or just curious the showroom is a heady mixture of stunning pieces within the most intriguing of settings.
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