Claudia Hill of Ellison Fine Art on BADAs IWD 2016 Initiative

Posted: 2016-03-07 16:40:46 - Last updated: 2016-03-07 16:42:38

To mark International Women’s Day 2016, on Tuesday 8 March, BADA is backing IWD 2016’s #PledgeForParity and celebrating women who have successfully challenged gender stereo types in the traditionally male dominated environment of fine art and antiques.

We begin our initiative today with the inspirational story of Claudia Hill, specialist in Fine Portrait Miniatures and founder of Ellison Fine Art.

As a child Claudia confessed that she “grew up surrounded by Antiques” and frequently attended Galleries, determining from an early age to work with, or around, Art.

Sadly, her early attempts to break into the industry were far from encouraging, as Claudia revealed: “My first interview for a job was for a security guard at the National Gallery. I was gutted when I was told it was a man’s job and to go and seek another career.

“I aspired to be an expert in Old Masters but never quite managed to squeeze my way into the male dominated department at Christie’s. With perseverance I did land my first job in the portrait miniature department there, which then fuelled my love and passion for portraits and history.”

Claudia went on to spend the first 20 years of her career directing the portrait miniature departments at Christie’s and later Bonhams’ Auction House but admits that the auction world was a frustrating environment to work in.

She continued: “It was very much a man’s world. When I was working at Christie’s there was one female on the board of directors, at the time it was exceptionally hard to move up the career ladder. A women’s role was traditionally seen to be that of an administrator/secretary.”

In 2000 Claudia left Bonhams’ to found Ellison Fine Art where her expert eye and extensive knowledge have helped build up a large and enthusiastic following among Collectors, Museums and Institutions.

In her own words Claudia’s greatest success to date has been: “Setting the world record price for a portrait miniature to be sold at auction, for $1.216 million with the sale of a miniature of George Washington by John Ramage.”

A regular Vetter at major antiques fairs, she writes articles for leading trade organisations and antique magazines and has appeared on national television and radio in her capacity as a portrait miniature expert.

Finally, asked what her advice would be for the next generation of fine art and antique dealers Claudia said: “If you have a dream, follow it. Be honest, transparent and hardworking and you will succeed.”

Ellison Fine Art will be exhibiting at BADA Fair March 9-15

For more information, on International Women’s Day 2016 visit

For more information on Claudia Hill and Ellison Fine Art, visit

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