A new auction house at Royal Wootton Bassett is among the latest news from Movers & Shakers

Jon White and Steve Bucknell in front of the auction house site.

RWB Auctions

A planned new auction house in Royal Wootton Bassett has obtained planning permission to convert a former high street supermarket into an auction house and gallery with cafe.

The auction house, called RWB Auctions, was set up by silversmith and coin dealer Jon White, who already runs the Old Bank Antiques center next door to the premises (which opened in 2019 ).

The new property will undergo extensive renovations over the next year with the first sale scheduled for 2023.


One of the plans for the facade of the new auction house.

RWB Auctions’ managing director is fellow dealer Steve Bucknell (pictured above) and the company is also looking for specialists and a chief auctioneer to help launch and run the business.

White said: “The past few years have been difficult for Britain’s high streets, but I’m passionate about the positive impact independent businesses can make to places like Royal Wootton Bassett.”

RWB is planning general and specialty sales with in-person and online viewing days.

Bucknell said, “We have a lot of work to do in the meantime,” Bucknell said, “but all the systems are working now and we’ll be tracking the whole process on our website and Facebook page.”

View the RWB Auctions recruitment announcement here.


Eleanor Walper

Christie’s Jewels has nominated Eleanor Walper.

Christie’s Jewels has appointed Eleanor Walper Associate Vice President and Specialist at Christie’s in Los Angeles. Walper began her career in the auction room in 2014. She has also worked at Bonhams and The New York Loan Company. At Christie’s, she will be responsible for client development on the West Coast.

Apelles Fine Arts Services

James Birtwistle

James Birtwistle established Apelles Fine Art Services.

Apelles Fine Art Services, a company specializing in the practical end-to-end management and maintenance of works of art, was founded by James Birtwistle in response to what he sees as a lack of practical experience with paintings and drawings.

His experience includes working in an antique frame and restoration workshop in Florence, for Cabinet Turquin in Paris and for dealer John Mitchell in London for almost 10 years.

He says, “There is certainly no shortage of art advisers or art dealers today, but there are not many people with a confident understanding provided they can advise and find you the right specialist, whether it is a restorer, a framer, a hanger for paintings purchased at direct or inherited auctions. As more and more buyers buy at online auctions, it is more necessary than ever to help them with all the practicalities that follow the successful auction.

In addition to supporting buyers, Birtwistle is keen to help artisans such as traditional framers and frame makers. These and similar trades are becoming scarce as there are fewer places for young artisans to learn the relevant skills.

He adds: “I plan to make Apelles a ‘storefront’ for craftsmen, where they can meet customers and have space to collect and drop off works near major West End auction houses.

It is based at 17 Avery Row, Mayfair, which is also home to John Mitchell Fine Paintings and former framer Paul Mitchell.