Job Title:   Senior Department Coordinator, Asian Arts Job Title:   Senior Department Coordinator, Asian Arts 

Reports to:  Head of Department, Asian Arts 

Responsible for: None 

Purpose of job: To provide full administrative support and coordination for the Head of Department and all the specialists in their consigning, cataloguing and selling of Asian arts. 


Main contacts: 
Internal: Head of Department and specialists in the Asian arts team, other department coordinators, other specialists, operational staff (especially photography, finance and marketing) and client liaison staff 
External: collectors, dealers, corporations, institutions, galleries, other auction houses 

Contract type: Permanent 

Hours:  Full-time, 40 hours a week 

Location:  Based at Chiswick HQ   

Context 

Chiswick Auctions is a privately owned, well-established London auction house which is fast becoming a major player in the international art market. With 20 specialist departments, regular dedicated and themed sales are held across a breadth of specialisms. In addition, monthly Interiors, Homes and Antiques sales contribute to a busy calendar of 100 auctions per year that cater for all levels of the market. 

The main headquarters is based in Chiswick, with a showroom in South Kensington (CSK), and with regular valuation events held in the UK, Italy and Greece. Chiswick Auctions employs around 55 staff. 

Our Asian Art department is one of the busiest and most successful departments in the house. The team curate four sales per year: the biggest sales occur in May and November, with smaller sales held in February and September. The bigger sales often involve a theme, such as paintings or bronzes, or something more conceptual such as ‘monochrome’ or ‘Chinese stories’ where objects display a narrative or hold interesting provenance.  

Asian Art sales involves a huge range of objects, including ceramics, large pieces of furniture, paintings and scrolls, many of which are very valuable and some of which are fragile.    

Areas of Responsibility 
Responsibilities include but are not limited to the following:  

  • Pre-sale:  
    Assist with receipting items onto Chiswick Auctions’ database system called Go Auction  
  • Support the correct labelling of items by specialists  
  • Work with the specialists to ensure upkeep of the stock location database 
  • Send contracts and collect signed copies / pre-sale advice to vendors, with estimates and reserves  
  • Track charges to be deducted from client’s settlement such as restoration and authentication  
  • Assist with and oversee shipments of incoming consignments with shippers and clients  
  • Assist with catalogue production: assisting with overseeing the photography including taking photos under natural light, printing images for the catalogue layout, assist with the numbering/ renumbering of a sale’s lot numbers and liaising with the designated Photographer to ensure that the completed catalogue is put online  
  • Label the images for the sales  
  • Lot and label prior to sale 
    • Ensure all lots are lotted up with lot number stickers etc. correctly prior to a sale  
    • Oversee the Art Handlers in bringing works down to the viewing rooms  
    • Make and put up lot labels 
  • Assist the Specialists with sending out condition reports and answering general pre-sale enquires 
  • Assist the Art Handlers with set-up of the sale preview display 
  • Assist with the sale itself, including participating in telephone bidding with clients  
  • Undertake the translation of lot descriptions into Chinese 
  • Work with the marketing team on the following marketing activities: 
    • Liaise with Chinese language online marketing platforms, including the collation and preparation of suitable material for such platforms. Platforms include WeChat promotion accounts, websites and printed publications 
    • Advise the Head of Marketing on other suitable platforms for promotion and advertise accordingly based on the content of the sale, negotiating pricing as required  
  • Coordinate auction viewings, train interns and assist clients during viewing (2 weekends for May and November sales, one weekend for February and September)  

Post-sale:   

  • Maintain oversight of the stock in terms of solds, Return-To-Vendor contact, re-entries and clearing storage for the next sale 
  • Support the accounts department in securing post-sale payments, and be the main point of contact for Chinese language clients for post-sale service issues. 
  • Settlement: be responsible for ensuring all terms for vendors are correct in Go Auction including correct payment details
  • Participate in the full after-sales analysis, and work with the team to implement any agreed changes   

In support of the whole department 

  • Oversight of the contracts system, to maximize margins and increase revenues in discussion with the Head of Department  
  • Be the first point of call for Japanese Art when the Japanese Art specialist is not in the building 
  • Produce regular posts for Weibo and WeChat friend circles and circulate these to members of the department working also with the marketing department 
  • Calligraphy transcription: transcribe seals and inscriptions as required to support cataloguing and promotion  

General  

  • Ensure compliance with all internal policies and procedures and any relevant external bodies or processes  
  • Participate in organization-wide meetings, activities and processes, and develop internal contacts, networks and interactions as appropriate Actively participate in events, art fairs, and other functions to represent Chiswick Auctions e.g. Chiswick Lates at CSK 
  • Carry out other duties as required by the Head of Department, Directors and Managing Directors  

Person Specification  

Essential skills and experience  

  • Experience in the field, either at auction, within the trade or at another relevant institution 
  • A strong understanding of marketing for Asian Art (mostly Chinese Art) ideally including experience of using platforms such as WeChat 
  • Excellent team working skills 
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills in English AND Mandarin 
  • A good understanding of Chinese culture, ideally gained through living and working in the PRC or ROC 
  • First class interpersonal skills 
  • Excellent administrative, organisational and time-management skills, including an ability to work to tight auction deadlines 
  • Experience working with on projects of all sizes, long- and short-term; demonstrated ability to prioritise a variety of concurrent projects 
  • Excellent knowledge of the Microsoft 365 Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, SharePoint, Outlook etc) 
  • Superior client service skills 
  • Strong follow-up skills with attention to detail 
  • Ability to thrive within a fast-paced team environment 
  • A ‘can-do’ attitude, an enquiring mind, and a willingness to actively seek out new responsibilities and opportunities  

Desirable qualifications, skills and experience  

  • A strong interest in Asian Art in general and Chinese art in particular 
  • A qualification relevant to Asian arts Experience of working in a customer service context serving clients from China and South-East Asia, including an awareness of the culturally specific aspects of service relevant to the provision of excellent client service