Under the Hammer: The Adventures of an Auctioneer

Richard Harton, Author St. Martin's Press $17.95 (269p) ISBN 978-0-312-05981-1
He started at 17 as a stock boy in a fine art auction gallery in Sussex, England. Here, Harton recalls how, during his 10 years of apprenticeship, he became a connoisseur equally adroit in cosseting eccentric, elderly clients and at wielding the auctioneer's hammer. Though occasionally overwritten in the effort to amuse, his portraits of optimistic sellers of supposedly priceless family heirlooms--and self-styled experts at pre-auction viewings vainly hoping to sniff out buried treasure--have sharp verve. The author also conveys the thrill of finding a trove of Japanese ivories on the Isle of Man and the discovery of a ``gravy boat'' in a village kitchen that turned out to be a rare chamber pot of the kind used by ladies of Louis XIV's court. (July)
Reviewed on: 07/01/1991
Release date: 07/01/1991
Genre: Nonfiction
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