Return to Normality

Engraving from The Microcosm of London published by Rudolph Ackermann in 1808

I’m not entirely convinced about all the talk that the antiques and auction world is going to change irrevocably due to the coronavirus.

In some quarters the belief is that reluctant web participants have naturally had to alter their ways to stay connected with the world and, more particularly, stay connected with auctions and the art market. Together with reluctant auction houses who previously were dragging their feet on the matter.  However, whilst it might be true to say that some will now perhaps have had their eyes opened to the greater benefits of online activity, I do not believe that this will result in the end of the old ways. And I certainly hope it won’t.

If one thing is clear about this strange lockdown period it’s that we are all very keen to get out and about again. Numerous dealers and collectors I’ve spoken to can’t wait to actually go around their old haunts once more. It’s all very well having everything pictured online but it doesn’t beat actually seeing it in person whether that be looking at museum collections or tempting things to buy.

As a keen user and fan of web based technologies in the art world I know that sometimes it’s just not the same seeing online images rather than the real thing. To me the web has been and always will be a valuable tool to help facilitate my involvement in this field. Ultimately, though, there is more to life than sitting in front of a screen!

I actually believe we will get over this. We have had pandemics before and we got through them. The same will happen again. In 1957 there were at least 1 million fatalities worldwide and in 1968 anything between 1-4 million. Currently there are under 400,000 with the coronavirus. Life in the past returned to normal before and I cannot see why it won’t this time around if we remain positive. There will be problems and we may have to readjust on certain levels in the short term. However, I’m sure face masks will go, hand sanitizers won’t be necessary or wanted and we will once more be able to shake hands. There is no good reason why we shouldn’t engage again in all those activities that we did before, we just need to be positive and patient. Everything in time….