Van Halm & van Halm: “so good they named it twice” is an often-heard description of my business. Actually… it’s not. However true, the name was thought up when I joined my father in the company back in 2001. Sadly, my wonderfully talented, funny and unorthodox father passed away in 2019 and after some thought I have decided to keep the name as a tribute to his immense contribution to its success.
Allard van Halm
I have been fascinated by oriental ceramics for nearly my whole life. I remember my father returning from buying trips to the Netherlands when I was a child and helping him to unpack and clean box upon box of blue and white Chinese porcelain. I was mesmerised by the vibrancy, elegance and delicacy of it. To this day I am humbled by the unique characteristic of porcelain which is that when clean and in perfect condition, it is exactly as it was when it left the kiln, when it was loaded onto western sailing vessels and when it wowed the clientele upon arrival in Europe. It can therefore be regarded as an accurate, tangible link to over 400 years of history. Over the years I have collaborated with auction houses and museums and contributed to the formation of countless private collections. It is a privilege to be part of a trade that has existed in one form or another for centuries.
Wouter van Halm
Wouter van Halm began dealing antiques in at the age of 16 in the early sixties. A newspaper article from 1964 remarked that ‘after a career of truancy he is embarking on a new career as Rotterdam’s youngest antiques dealer’. After starting in the, at that time, fledgling Art Nouveau scene, by the 1970s het was dealing exclusively in ceramics and moving more and more into oriental porcelain. In 1977 we moved to the UK and shortly after my father opened a stand at the Portobello Road market. Specialising in Chinese blue and white porcelain from the late Ming to early Qing dynasties, the business grew steadily over the next 20 years and Wouter gained a reputation for quality and integrity. After finishing my studies and having worked at several auction houses we decided to work together and van Halm & van Halm was established in 2001.
We exhibited at international fairs in New York, Paris, Brussels and London, always trying to bring together the best collection of Kraak, Kangxi and 18th century Chinese export porcelain as well as early Japanese wares we could find. Our clientele includes museums, prominent private collections and the international trade. In 2008 we left Portobello Road for a ten year stint in our shop on Kensington Church Street which has always been renowned for its number of outstanding dealers in oriental ceramics.
My parents moved back to The Netherlands to enjoy their retirement and I decided to move back to Portobello Road and to continue to expand the online business and exhibit at fairs. The death of my father and the subsequent Covid crisis has meant I have had to adjust the way I do business but I am keen to uphold the emphasis on quality and integrity built up over the past decades. You will find me every Saturday at my stand in the basement of the Admiral Vernon arcade, 141-149 Portobello Road from 8am – 2pm. In addition, I hope to be exhibiting at fairs again when Covid regulations permit and I am happy to answer any queries by telephone or through the website.