Published by Mereo Books (1st October 2014)
Old Secrets is a sexy, light-hearted romp through the world of antiques and fine art, written by an author with a sense of humour as well as a professional knowledge of the antiques trade.
I have been asked to describe the inspiration for writing my book Old Secrets. It stems from a lifetime's involvement in the world of auctions, fine art and antiques and the wide cross-section of society it has been fascinating to meet.
From an early start with a firm of auctioneers and valuers I felt like Keats as he read Chapman's translation of Homer. He begins 'Much have I travell'd in the realms of gold and many goodly states and kingdoms seen..' To him it was joy of that translation, for me it was the discovery of the past. All the wonders of pictures, antiques and the wide range of houses and estates visited during my time as an auctioneer and valuer.
Laterally in my career I became an antiques and fine art dealer. Knowledge has and always will be the most important key to this business. It occurred to me that anyone coming into the possession of a valuable collection would be at the mercy of an unscrupulous or naive auctioneer. The mayhem that would ensue from the wrong dispersal of any such items entered into a local saleroom would have repercussions throughout the art world.
To be honest the book started by accident rather than design. No plot was hatched beforehand. I simply started scribbling in an old notepad and it went on from there. The difficulty was in trying to remember which characters I'd introduced and not to leave them behind.
After a while the book seemed to write itself and the characters told me what to do. At school my essays always seemed to raise a laugh when read out so there possibly exists a latent desire to amuse. My favourite comedians are certainly Dick Emery and Kenny Everett.
Is there a moral to this tale? I would conclude with the biblical quote 'It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.'
Ian has worked in the auction business his whole life. It led him to meet a whole host of characters and inspired his first novel Old Secrets.