It was almost an historic occasion last Tuesday night (23 January) when private client aficionado Dawsons nearly celebrated its 300th birthday with a bash in the old-world splendour of the Wallace Collection. Nearly, that is, because at the last moment the firm realised it wasn’t actually 300 years’ old.
In fact, the firm’s website now trumpets the fact that it was “established before 1729”. Let’s hope it’s a little more specific in its drafting.
To be fair, the firm’s senior partner Wynne Thomas did explain to the assembled throng that the party had originally been planned to celebrate Dawsons’ tri-centenary, until a little digging in the records uncovered the sad truth that the firm in fact only launched in (or, as the website points out, “before”) the relatively modern year of our Lord 1729.
“We decided to carry on with the party and hold it in the Wallace Collection as it would demonstrate how far Dawsons has modernised,” deadpanned Thomas.
Still, there was enough old-school charm on show to more than compensate. Tulkinghorn’s favourite bon mot of the evening came courtesy of one old boy who entered a room bedecked with 18th century paintings only to cry: “But how can you hang a Fragonard next to a Boucher? Absolute sacrilege!”Tulkinghorn never knew that Brian Sewell was a Dawsons client.