A conversation with David Isaac

David Isaac, Director of Isaac and Ede, has been working with antiquarian prints for over thirty years. His gallery is based in London and he exhibits at art and antiques shows both in London and overseas. David takes great pride in advising his clients, both private and corporate, on the acquisition, presentation and preservation of individual antiquarian prints and larger collections.

“I'm BADA born and bred, based in Kensington and a purveyor of fine prints.”

What was the first antique you bought for yourself personally? Why?

When contemplating setting up on my own I bought a large print of the Prince Regent straddling his favourite mount. I admired his confidence.


If money were no object, what one work of art would you buy?

I would buy a complete set of Thomas Frye's Lifesize mezzotint heads from the 1760s.


What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

When times are tough start planning for the upturn so you're fully prepared.


If you were starting a collection today, what would you invest in?

I would invest in miniatures and a sturdy suitcase because it would be so much easier and cheaper to exhibit at shows in the States.


What’s your favourite piece of current stock for sale?

A set of Hogarth's Marriage a la Mode, as topical today as the day they were first drafted.


Who are your dream dinner party guests, dead or alive?

It would be fun to have the Prince Regent and Jane Austen for some heated discussion with Olivia Coleman and Captain Poldark to keep me company while they bickered.


What is your dinner party piece de resistance?

Cheese and pineapple on sticks but going off piste and using something exotic like Wensleydale. I'm not really a cook and my tastes are quite childish: hot Ribena, marmite and a bit of crumpet.


Is there a book that has had a profound effect on your life?

Apart from the bible it would have to be 'Paddington Marches On' because that's where I first met Mr. Gruber and realised you could make a living out of flogging antiques.


If you had not become an antiques dealer what other profession would you have chosen?

Life on the stage with possible parts in Midsomer Murders.


If you could do it all again who would you be?

I would like to have a crack at being the Duchess of Cambridge.


What are your interests out of the trade?

Barely a day goes by when I'm not astride my bicycle and the ennui of endless lockdowns has meant I've very nearly mastered the Times crossword.


How did you get into the trade?

Through a small ad in The Guardian and relentless pestering of Raymond O'Shea until he was forced to interview me.


Where’s the strangest place you’ve bought an item of inventory?

I bought a print that was actually mine; from a dealer who had it on sale or return.  Felt a right numpty!


What do you wish people would stop asking you?

Can you get these printed in any size?


Which actor would play you in the movie of your life?

I would aim for Hugh Grant but settle for Christopher Biggins.


You can view David's BADA page here, and his inventory is all available to view here.