James Gooch is an antique dealer and owner of Doe & Hope, which offers a unique inventory of unusual antiques & curios. James specialises in decorative, rare and bizarre antiques from all over the world, acting as a storyteller using furniture to tell stories for his clients, from his less than ordinary antique website. With a love of the atmosphere surrounding furniture, James has a cinematic approach to design embracing the macabre with great panache. So we are proud to bring you the Designer Insights of James Gooch.
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1) In your own words describe your unique style and creative aesthetic?
We have a particular interest in the atmosphere that surrounds an object, taking a cinematic approach in the presentation of our inventory. Our house style is probably best described as a concoction of old money, dramatic decorative, and faded gentility, with common themes of both humour and the macabre running through our inventory that includes both academic and playful objects, assembled, we hope, with great panache.
2) When starting a new project, what is your creative process?
I don’t think I take the same route every time. Really, it is the object which takes me on the journey, and therefore once I have chosen it, it speaks to me. The photography and the written descriptions that I do are both integral to the way we do things, both are immensely time consuming but ultimately it is these processes that are the most inspirational.
3) Out of the creative people you have worked with, who is it that you respect and admire the most?
When I worked in television and film there were several people who were immensely creative and this has, I hope, rubbed off on my work as an antique dealer. I see dealing this way as more of set design than retail. Other decorative dealers such as Drew Pritchard and Alex McArthur have a very clear idea of their aesthetic and that is an wonderful talent to have. It is a very creative profession, which some do not realize.
4) When looking for inspiration is there a particular thing you do to get inspired?
I find listening to appropriate music is a way of connecting to a feeling or a moment of beauty and this sometimes helps giving me inspiration when I am creating my images or putting together my next stand for a fair. Thumbing through old books of country house interiors is also helpful.
5) What has brought you to this point in your career? And what is your advice for people looking to follow in your footsteps?
Simply a passion to make a living from beauty by recreating atmospheric, academic and beautiful interiors, and excelling in household taste. This is distilled in the thrill of the chase in finding the next object or item of furniture that take one’s breath away whether it be in execution, design or simple beauty. If you have the passion, the rest takes care of itself.