25th June 2012
Let's All Go Down the Strand
"I'll be the leader, you can march
Come with me and see what we can find !
Let's all go down the Strand — Have a banana !
Oh! What a happy land.
That's the place for fun and noise,
All among the girls and boys.
So let's all go down to the Strand."
(From the music hall song Let's All Go Down the Strand by Harry Castling and C.W. Murphy)
The last sale of the Spring season is now almost cleared away, the lots despatched promptly to their new homes as payments from our buyers at home and overseas are received and cleared. Our administrative staff can begin to relax, if only a little, and this week's illustration, sketched by a passing artist, shows Chris Lawrence and Nick Kerridge on their way to a business meeting to plan the efficient running of our Strand office over the Autumn season.
Our administrative, technical and philatelic staff have shown typical British resilience and pluck as they carried out their duties over the recent busy months. The same pluck that this weekend took the England rugby team to the brink of victory over the mighty South Africans in Port Elizabeth and the same resilience that the English football team showed to take a visibly superior Italy side to an undeserved penalty shootout (with the usual frustratingly incompetent outcome).
The Grosvenor team has at the same time continued to demonstrate the good humour and slight eccentricity that is also said to characterise our island nation. Pomposity and inflexible behaviour are unattractive qualities and they can grow and spread in auction houses that do not guard against them. Humour has long been identified as the most effective social sanction against these dangerous tendencies.
I remember, for example, the sense of pride I felt a few years ago on hearing that, when the Italian Northern League revealed their intention to march beside drops of water from Lake Garda as they flowed down the Tiber to Rome, they were obliged to abruptly drop the scheme because the English-speaking press had burst out laughing during the announcement. At Grosvenor we aim for just such a no-nonsense approach both to customer relations and to life in general.
So, if you come to see us on the Strand you can always expect a smile and some helpful straightforward advice, with perhaps in the background a little fun and noise.
But, if you are hoping for a banana, you may have to bring your own.