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Birchwood students learn about the going, going, goings-on at Sworders Fine Art Auctioneers





Students at Birchwood High School learned lots when they visited Stansted auction house Sworders.

The fine art auctioneers were taking part in an initiative they were organising with the Worshipful Company of Art Scholars to introduce young people to the auction business.

The auction industry includes the auctioneer and specialists in areas such as Asian art, glass, modern design, jewellery, antiques and vintage textiles, as well as large teams working in photography, public relations, marketing and administration.

Students from Birchwood High School visited Sworders auction house in Stansted
Students from Birchwood High School visited Sworders auction house in Stansted

A party of 29 Year 10 students at the Parsonage Lane secondary school, accompanied by careers leader Mrs Crimes and art teacher Mrs Jackson, spent a fascinating day at Sworders learning what goes on behind the scenes.

In addition to getting involved in workshops, the students heard about the career journeys of three art scholars, including John Benjamin of BBC TV’s Antiques Roadshow fame.

The day was rounded off with a mock auction. Each student had an envelope of fake money and bid fiercely against one another, with the occasional online or phone bid thrown in the mix to spice things up.

Staff at Sworders gave students an insight into the role of an auctioneer
Staff at Sworders gave students an insight into the role of an auctioneer

A Birchwood spokeswoman said: “The team at Sworders could not have been more hospitable and the students were exceedingly grateful to them for the fantastic day they put on.”

When asked what the best part of the day was, students replied:

  • Learning about jewellery and seeing how you can find if a piece is real or fake
  • The auction we took part in as it felt new and exciting for all of us
  • Learning how to identify if a painting has been painted over
  • I loved learning about hallmarks as I used my knowledge to date a set of cufflinks and jugs my grandmother gave me
  • I enjoyed talking to experts and listening to their work insights
  • Marketing, bidding and lunch!


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