Follow the Stories | February 14, 2013
Appraisers Robert and Kate Waterhouse Talk Valentine's Day
Kate Waterhouse appraises a platinum and diamond ring, ca. 1950. Watch now »
Robert Waterhouse appraises a Chinese porcelain vase, ca. 1900. Watch now »
"The best aspect to traveling with ROADSHOW is that it allows Kate and I to visit cities we might not otherwise see."
Robert is Vice President, Consulting Specialist focusing on Asian Arts with Freeman's Auctioneers in Philadelphia, PA. Kate is Director of Jewelry for Heritage Auctions in New York, NY. They both live in Philadelphia with their daughter, Piper Flynn.
How did you two first meet?
KW: We met while we were in London, and I began working at Bonhams during my master's degree program. On my first day the receptionist called up to Robert to arrange a tour of the office. When Rob said he would send someone down in his place for the tour, she said something to the effect of "Oh, I think you'll want to give her the tour yourself." She was being very kind, but looking back it may have all been different had Rob sent someone else down in his place.
Not every couple works in the same profession — can you speak about the benefits of understanding each other's work? Or the challenges?
RW: One of the benefits of working together is having the same background knowledge to most of the "how was your day?" stories and rants. We understand the context of each other's stories without explanation. In addition to that, we understand on a more complete level each other's professional disappointments — not winning a big consignment or having an under-performing sale. We know what it's like and the effect it has on one's demeanor.
The biggest challenge would certainly be the unsolicited advice that is offered — usually by me to Kate.
KW: It has been great for us professionally. I feel as though we have pushed each other to be better and to further our knowledge in our separate disciplines. We are able to bounce ideas off of each other, which has been great as we grew our departments. I won't lie, you do have to like your spouse a lot to want to travel, work, co-habitate and raise children together.
What inspired each of you to choose your particular specialty?
KW: As a small child I always had an interest in jewelry and fashion, so while I fell into auction rather than planning it, I think I would have ended up working with jewelry or couture somehow.
RW: I was interested in Eastern spirituality while selling European furniture and decorative arts in Australia. The turning point was an exhibition titled "The Three Emperors" at the Royal Academy of Arts in London in 2005-2006. It made me realize that I wanted to focus on Asian arts, rather than brown wood and the occasional Asian object.
Can you share a memory from your travels with ROADSHOW?
RW: The best aspect to traveling with ROADSHOW is that it allows Kate and me to visit cities we might not otherwise see. We both feel really blessed to see different parts of America in this way. Our best work memories are usually sharing BBQ with ROADSHOW friends in places like Raleigh, NC.
KW: I have learned that traveling back home on Sunday after taping is my husband's "quiet time."
Do you typically give each other vintage or antique gifts?
RW: We buy almost everything that is reasonable secondhand — underwear for me being the threshold! Kate was kind enough to buy me a lovely, vintage suitcase for Christmas a few years ago. Although the quality and leather could not be replicated today in the ballpark of the same price, I do realize why the rotating wheels were added at some point in the history of travel bags!
KW: For our fifth anniversary Robert bought a yellow sapphire that was in a brooch at auction, and asked me to reset it however I wanted. I went to my jeweler, and we designed a new contemporary setting around this much older stone. It has a nice look, the new with the old. You will see me wear it often on the show.
How do you celebrate Valentine's Day?
KW: We'll boil a couple of lobsters at home and relax. It takes the pressure off and allows us not to worry about making it perfect.
Mariel MacNaughton is a contributor to Antiques Roadshow Online