About Us

Mike and Helen hold dear certain things when it comes to selecting new pieces for themselves or for their clients. Authenticity, sculptural form, untouched patina and tactile appeal all feature at the top of their list of priorities. They strive to offer items which have compelling individuality as well as being visually pleasing.

Their varied stock ranges from 15th century metalware, through early 18th century walnut , English and Continental vernacular country furniture to 20th century decorative works of art. Their aim is to source the best examples in each category and this can be seen in the consistant nature of their stock, whether it be selected for collectors or for its funtion in the home. Their extensive knowledge and expertise is clearly reflected in the carefully selected pieces. whether they be fine formal or oak and country, the unifying and underlying criteria being those of quality, authenticity, condition and colour. All pieces are backed up by their personal guarentee based on the Codes of Practice of the respective associations of which they are members.

Their stands are recognisable at the major antiques fairs they exhibit at, not only for the quality of the stock but also their eclectic presentation whether they elect to exhibit their formal English and Continental look or as they did in September 2009 at Berkley Square, a breathtaking stand of rare vernacular furniture and folk art which was highly acclaimed by the trade and public alike.

Helen and Mike began their respective carers in the antiques business at much the same time in 1968 but didn’t come together to form Wakelin and Linfield until 1984 when they opened one of the largest pemises in Petworth and from where they conducted their business for over 10 years. The centre of operations was then re-established at their home, an old Sussex farmhouse set in mature gardens some 5 miles from Petworth and Billingshurst. Everything is fully restored and can be viewed by appointment in two large barn galleries.

They are both individually elected members of both trade Associations, BADA and LAPADA and serve as specialist vetters at many UK fairs including two Olympias,the LAPADA fair at Berkley Square of which Helen is Chairman, as well as the Decorative Antiques Fairs in Battersea for which she is also Head of vetting for the Standards Committee. Mike is Chairman of the metal and oak vetting committee at the BADA fair. Helen is also an active Direcor of LAPADA and serves on the Advisory Board of the Winter Olympia Fair.

Helen developed her love for the business whilst studying language and History of Art at the Sorbonne in Paris where she lived on the left bank in the midst of the thriving up market Parisien antique scene. This was followed by a further year at Madrid University before finishing her studies at L’ecole des Interpretes in Geneva where she worked as an interpreter before returning to England . Shortly after her marriage she entered the business. Her apprenticeship was served in Worthing and Arundel markets before opening her first shop in Worthing. It was not long before the fair circuit (then in its infancy) beckoned. It was at one of these events that she met her future husband and partner and they started their business together. Helen has been on several BBC radio programmes over the years and has taken part in the BBC Antiques TV programme “Going for a Song”.

Mike had the good fortune to be educated at Kimbolton School which was located within Kimbolton Castle and its grounds that remarkably retained much of the period architectural interior and external decoration including accoutrement and pictures. In retrospect this 7 year experience was subliminaly seminal in his attraction to the world of fine art and antiques. Subsequently, while reading Spanish and Italian at the university of Bristol, his interest had become very much focussed on the world of antique English and Continental glassware and its trading possibilities. It was a fortuitous meeting with headmaster and dedicated glass collector Peter Lazarus and the generous way with which he shared both his business acumen and his in depth knowledge of the subject that consolidated Mike’s determination to follow his passion and become a trader.

The second fortuitous event was the formation of a relationship with Christopher Clarke of Stow on the Wold whose generosity of spirit and sheer bredth of knowledge was an inspiration enabling Mike to broaden his trading base into ceramics, needlework, pictures and furniture with a special focus on ealrly brass, bronze and steel. In short, during the seventies his business development relied heavily on these two great dealer / collectors and the introductions they provided to London and international buyers. Mike’s first break providing access to high quality retail and trade clients came in the early eighties when he was invited to exhibit at the Chelsea Antiques fair and subsequently began to exhibit at many other London and provincial fairs. It was at one of these fairs in 1982 that he met Helen and from then on the Wakelin and Linfield partnership evolved combining diverse talents to produce a high profile business culminating in the membership of the major English trade associations, BADA and LAPADA.

 



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