Rainier Schraepen

Get to know the people and personalities that make the BADA, as we delve into their businesses, passions, and insights on buying and collecting. Through a series of interviews, we uncover their stories and discover what drives them in the world of art and antiques. 


Rainier Schraepen

From Butchoff Antiques

Established in 1964 and located on Kensington Church Street in London, Butchoff Antiques specialises in 18th and 19th century English and Continental furniture, mirrors and related objects. This includes well-known cabinet makers of the period, such as Holland & Sons, Wright & Mansfield, Jackson & Graham and Gillow of London & Lancaster.


Could you tell us about your favourite piece currently in your stock and what makes it special?

British FurnitureOne of our latest finds is an exceptional bronze coupe by Ferdinand Barbedienne. Not only is it of monumental proportions, but the design is also phenomenal and takes inspiration from ancient Roman bas-relief panels. For me, discovering the initials of Charles Cauchois (Barbedienne’s premier bronze chaser) was a real thrill, and their presence suggests it may have been exhibited at the 1889 Paris Expo.

What would you say has been your biggest personal achievement in your career in fine art & antiques so far?

Together with Christopher Payne, Butchoff Antiques embarked on a journey to write, research & publish an up-to-date reference book about 19th century British furniture. Such a project had not been attempted since scholars such as Edward Joy were writing nearly half a century ago. As dealers, we are privileged to come across such a broad range of pieces, and it is our responsibility to share our expertise and promote new learning.

How did you first discover your love for fine art and antiques?

I was studying Mechanical Engineering in Montreal, Canada, when I stumbled into a class called “The Language of Art” which forever changed my outlook on life and prompted me to pursue my studies in the History of Art.

Had you always wanted to work in the industry or did you have a career change?

I completed my Masters at the Courtauld focusing on the history of Dutch Golden Age art. From there, I transitioned into the industry, first in the Fine Arts, then discovering my love of the Decorative Arts.

Is there a house that you would love to design the interiors for/ furnish, or perhaps a client you would like to work with?

Without a doubt it would have been Jayne Wrightsman (1919-2019), the American philanthropist, arts collector, and veritable scholar who not only amassed one of the finest private collections of decorative arts in the US but, together with her interior designer Henri Samuel, presented the collection with impeccable taste!

Could you tell us your three top tips for buying and collecting antiques?

Buy what you love. Don’t be afraid to break the mould and find your niche. Lastly, value craftsmanship and novelty over brand names with clout.

Could you tell us about a recent visit to a gallery, exhibition or fair you have visited and enjoyed?

Everyone’s recent obsession is the Gabrielle Chanel exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum, and with good reason! Her studio’s early work from the 1910s-1920s, especially the embroidery, can and should be celebrated as works of decorative art.

What is an experience or an object that has shocked or surprised you in your time collecting and dealing?

Oftentimes, it is the engineered aspects of a beautiful piece of furniture that surprise me most. A lacquer bureau plat of mine by Alfred Beurdeley contains a hidden mechanism allowing a single key to simultaneously unlock several drawers. I like to think Mr Beurdeley knew he would be surprising and entertaining audiences with his furniture for decades to come, even centuries.

Will you ever stop collecting or dealing?

I have never met an antiques dealer who ever stopped collecting, and I will certainly not be the first!

Do you have a collection in your home?

Of course, and it is very eclectic. The collection includes 19th century furniture and a sprinkle of Art Deco. At home, I also indulge in my passion for Post-War Murano Glass lighting.

Who do you admire in the world of art and antiques and why?

Ian Butchoff, owner and director of the business, who has dedicated his whole life to finding, buying, selling, studying and sharing some of the greatest furniture and fine arts Europe ever produced.

What is an item that you wish you had never sold to a client and kept for yourself?

A faultless première-partie Boulle marquetry inlaid cabinet by Charles-Guillaume Winckelsen, dated 1869. Undoubtedly one of the finest pieces of furniture the 19th century every produced by one the century’s greatest pioneers.

What is your favourite appearance of an antique in a film, play or book?

My Boulle marquetry inlaid bureau plat by Toms & Luscombe, made for the 1862 exhibition, made its movie debut in 1962 in the first James Bond film, used in Dr No’s lair!

What events have you got coming up and where can we next view your stock?

We have a busy fair schedule, but conveniently our next showcase is just around the corner in Chelsea, at the Treasure House fair from 26 June – 2 July 2024!