14 April 2008
In an article that made the front page of April 6's Sunday Times, it was alleged that Mr Hobbs had sold as genuine antiques, objects that were largely the creation of his restorer Dennis Buggins. Photographs appeared in the paper of a parquetry wardrobe and four lion-carved monopedia legs that were cannibalised to produce a side table described as Italian, early 19th century on John Hobbs' website.
Mr Hobbs, who says the table was not for sale and should not have been on his site, strongly denies any wrong-doing or ever knowingly selling a fake.
The information for the article came from Mr Buggins, a Kent-based restorer who also traded in architectural salvage as Extreme Architecture and recently sold much of his stock at auction.
Mr Buggins, who is currently involved in a legal dispute with Mr Hobbs, told the paper he only recently discovered that the replica and revamped antiques he says he produced had been offered for sale as original pieces.
The BADA's code of practice says that for an item to be sold as antique it should be "in substantially the same condition as when originally made" and "not added to or altered to any material extent". Mark Dodgson, deputy secretary general of the association, told ATG it has been more than a decade since the BADA faced such potentially damaging allegations about one of their members. "The article is not good publicity for the trade but we want to be fair. These are, as The Sunday Times conceded, simply allegations at this stage," he said.
A panel has not yet been formulated nor is it clear how the investigation will be carried out.
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