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March 16 2010

Video: Handmade Films

Well, bless you all for putting up with my moment of introspection. It has been an extraordinary privilege to receive so many kind emails. Thank you. I don't want to sound boastful, but I was amazed to hear what AHN means to some of you. 

AHN must and will therefore continue. In any case, as one reader wrote:

[...] I do not think that you are entitled to resign without asking [your readers'] prior permission.

And as you imagine they have already definitely decided that (un-) fortunately your resignation has not been accepted.

I was also honoured to meet so many readers at TEFAF in Maastricht, where I went last Saturday.  

In fact, after reflecting on events over the last week or so, I've decided that AHN will not only continue, but be bigger and better. AHN2.0 will take me a while to implement, so bear with me. I want to refresh the site so that it's easier to search, have zoomable images, and also be easier for me to upload (especially on the move). I'd like to hire an Assistant Deputy Editor to help me keep things ticking over whenever I'm on the road (which - for reasons I'm not able to yet discuss - I will be a great deal over the next six months). And I'd be glad to hear from AHNers about any other improvements you want to see.

I was touched that many of you offered to make donations to help maintain the site. Happily, that's not necessary at the moment. But it got me thinking that AHNers who were so minded could be persuaded to support various good causes. So AHN2.0 will have a monthly good cause that readers can chose to donate towards. Of course, it's won't at all be compulsory. But between us we may be able help the odd museum or two.

I must admit to being slightly anxious entering TEFAF last week. Into the Lion's Den, and all that. It looked as classy and well organised as ever. But there were few masterpieces, and it seems not a great deal of business is being done this year. Many participants were, as a result, dealing mainly in gossip. Every third conversation seemed to begin, 'I heard...', and it was surreal hearing rumours which I absolutely knew not to be true. It reminded me of being at boarding school. Such behaviour doesn't reflect well on the trade. 

That said, I sensed more than ever a passing of the baton (albeit perhaps reluctantly) between what we might call 'the old guard', and a newer, more positive, engaging and frankly nicer generation of younger dealers. There was a palpable dismay among this group that so little was being done about the latest fake scandal. So I left TEFAF feeling optimistic about the longer term health of the Old Master market. 

Forgive the language in the above clip from one of my favourite films, but there's a Withnail & I quote for every occasion in life. See if you can guess which line I am particularly thinking of at the moment. 

Thank you again. Onwards!

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