After a brief spell working reluctantly as an articled clerk in the offices of a chartered accountant, Leslie Gillham began his career in the world of fine art auctioneering in Sussex in the late 1960s.
Fortunately it was a more gentle age than the present one to be plunged into the hectic world that was totally foreign to him. Older dealers, many of whom began 'in trade' during the years between the wars, had both the time and the inclination to pass on their knowledge to the next generation, and these generous benefactors helped him unravel the many mysterious terms and practices of his new environment.
He made his way up the professional ladder encountering all aspects of society on the way from eccentric members of the county set to the seedier side of commercial life. In 1976, after a spell running an auction rooms on the south coast he accepted a post with Bonhams in London where he went on to become a director and head of their national valuations department.
After four years in London he was invited to become vice-president of Phillips in New York, and he spent two years there in charge of their appraisals department at one of their two salerooms in the city. After returning to the UK he went into business as a fine art valuations consultant.
Leslie became a regular contributor of articles in magazines as well as consultant to many Miller's Guides. In addition, under his nom de plume, Richard Harton, he is author of a series of books including Under the hammer, An Auctioneers Lot and Without Reserve.
Under the Hammer - experiences of a fledgling fine arts auctioneer
An Auctioneer's Lot - further experiences from the world of fine art auctioneering