Olivia Weightman (History of Art, 2nd year)

Christie’s Auction House is a world renowned art auction house dealing in fine and decorative arts, jewellery, photographs, collectibles and wine. Olivia Weightman undertook work experience assisting the graduate interns and specialists with research for clients and sales.

Olivia Weightman at Christie's

Olivia's role

During her work experience Olivia was supported by the UK Professional Bursary to pay for travel to the London office where she worked.

The research that Olivia did revolved around paintings that had either been recently received at Christie’s in preparation for a sale or were part of a collection and a client had asked Christie’s to find the provenance and value of a piece. To find this information Olivia used Christie’s library collection, international sales catalogues and online sites especially to find art lots. She had to help identify whether or not it was by a particular artist or from the school or circle of an artist by looking for similar styles, compositions and markings.

Olivia enjoyed being able to see the paintings in a whole new way by examining the art closely and looking for any wax seals, signatures, stickers and markings. This was a new experience for her and unique to an art auction house.

As a result of this work experience Olivia has found out what field of work that she wants to get into after graduation and the steps that she needs to take to attain this career.

Olivia’s thoughts

"I was allowed to help with the hang of a recent sale which was very interesting and a great learning curve as it taught me about the details and processes that go into an international sale."

"I believe I have developed my research skills alongside my artistic perspective. I also did some work that improved my numeracy skills, commercial awareness, computer skills and communication skills."

"This experience has taught me that I should be looking into further education once I have graduated university and I have already taken steps to bring these plans to life."

Employer’s thoughts

"Olivia’s help was very important at a time when the department was very busy setting up for an upcoming sale. She fulfilled her duties with diligence and was always happy to help out with anything."

"Olivia spent 2 weeks working in the Old Master Paintings department, and was extremely helpful and willing. She assisted in carrying out research, by checking literature for prototypes and references to pictures, and tracing provenance in the Christie’s archives. Olivia also gained experience in cataloguing, the preparation involved in a large house sale, and generally carrying out administrative office tasks."

Posted on Thursday 17th October 2013