Antiques dealer’s success grew from sale as a youth

He took his first steps into the antiques dealing world as a 12-year-old buying furniture and selling it through the classified ads in the EDP.

But things have moved on these days for Norwich-born Iain Henderson Russell, who launched his company's second antiques showroom at his own home near Wymondham yesterday.

For 21 years, his company HRW Antiques has traded from premises in London, but with so many East Anglians travelling to the capital to find antiques, Mr Henderson Russell saw an opportunity to bring some of his stock closer to home.

He has spent six months converting a former barn at his Queen Anne house – Burfield Hall – to create a showroom of furniture, paintings and trinkets.

He said: 'A lot of people in East Anglia are buying from London. A lot of friends said 'why have all your things in London when you live here?' It's rather fun to combine home and a bit of work. I had this barn and it seemed the obvious thing to do.'

Having come into some money from a premium bond at the age of nine, Mr Henderson Russell began exhibiting an entrepreneurial flare through buying furniture at sales, renovating the pieces and selling them through ads in the EDP.

His first sale of an Edwardian inlaid suite and George III bureau netted him a profit of �60 when he was 12.

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'I was always interested in visual things and interiors, even at that age. My mother was artistic and encouraged me to do it,' he said.

Despite obtaining a degree in accountancy and business, Mr Henderson Russell's heart was in antiques and he began working for auctioneers Christies, ending up running the company's eastern office in Norwich. He set up HRW Antiques in 1988, which has since become one of the largest businesses in the country selling 18th and 19th century English and continental furniture to an impressive list of interior designers and private clients.

Visits to the Norfolk showroom, which is open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, are by appointment only. For more details, visit www.hrw-antiques.com