Alan Toovey
(3rd July 1943 – 28th May 2023)

Alan Toovey

I am deeply saddened to announce the death of my father, Alan Toovey.

Together, we founded Toovey’s in 1995 and Dad brought his experience as a respected accountant in industry with a background in information technology to the team. It was thanks to him that Toovey’s was among the first salerooms in the country to have a marketing website.

Dad’s entrepreneurial spirit, experience, determination and kindness defined his professional life. His values and professionalism were greatly respected in our profession.

We shared a belief that people should always be front and centre of any organisation and, together with our team, we built a community of passionate collectors, clients and friends. Dad and Mum, Alan and Georgina, have remained at the heart of this community.

Dad shared a lifetime of love with Georgina. A father of five with fifteen grandchildren, family was at the heart of all he did.

There is much to celebrate in both his professional and personal life. He was loved and admired, and will be greatly missed.

Alan’s funeral will be held at St Mary’s Parish Church, Church Street, Storrington on 21st June 2023 and Toovey’s will be closed as a mark of respect. If you would like more details, please contact our offices by telephoning 01903 891955 or emailing

Rupert Toovey, DL, FSA, FRICS, FRSA.

The Donald Church and Michael Godfrey Collections

These two beautiful collections represent the best of English country house taste and I am delighted that they are the subject of a series of specialist sales at Toovey’s.

The collections are the property of the artist and interior designer Donald Church and the connoisseur Michael Godfrey. Donald and Michael’s great friendship was born out of a shared joy in collecting and National Trust trips.

Donald Church, a graduate of Medway College of Art and Maidstone College of Art, had a remarkable career working with many of the leading interior decorators of the post-war period, including the hugely influential John Fowler of Colefax and Fowler. Although incredibly talented, John Fowler had a reputation for not always being easy to work with. Donald left his position as John’s assistant but remained a life-long friend. He continued to work for John as a consultant over many years, providing watercolour designs and drawings, including studies for John’s interior designs for several National Trust properties. Donald also worked with other leading interior decorators, including David Hicks, Mary Fox Linton and another Colefax and Fowler luminary, Imogen Taylor.

Donald maintained his friendship with John Fowler and a number of pieces from John’s home, The Hunting Lodge in Odiham, form part of Donald’s collection. These include several pieces of furniture and decorative items. There is a photograph showing John Fowler in the Garden Room at The Hunting Lodge, sitting in a Louis XVI style chair which is entered in the auction. Donald Church’s unerring eye for taste, design and quality informed the interiors of his home and his collection.

Michael Godfrey’s collection, too, is informed by exceptional taste and includes fine Georgian furniture and works of art, 18th-century Worcester porcelain, paintings and prints. Michael famously spent his lunchtimes searching out pieces for his collection around St James’s, London, while working as a senior accountant for the Commonwealth Secretariat in Pall Mall.

Their collections will be sold together in a series of specialist auctions throughout March, April and May 2023.

Search “Donald Church” or “Michael Godfrey” in the current auction to see the collections.

Rendel Williams Collection

Lot 3125 – Chailey delivery cart

Toovey’s are delighted to announce the single-owner collection of postcards from the estate of the late Rendel Williams (11 September 1941 to 12 December 2021).

Rendel Williams was a geography lecturer at the University of Sussex with a wide range of academic and personal interests connected to the Sussex landscape and history. His initial interest in collecting picture postcards was stimulated by academic research on coastal erosion where he was able to use evidence from postcards to estimate how fast the chalk cliffs had retreated over the past century. As a nature reserve manager with the Sussex Wildlife Trust he also used evidence from old postcards to show how the vegetation of the South Downs was changing and how sheep grazing needed to be reinstated to restore areas of open grassland suitable for rare orchids and butterflies.

Lot 3165 Sheep-shearing at Fulking

His professional interest in postcards soon became an absorbing hobby. At first, he limited himself to collecting images of agricultural scenes, but his interests spread to cover landscapes, buildings, transport and tourism, always in the county of Sussex. His collection grew to over 10,000 postcards.

Lot 3131 -One of a group of four postcards of Suffragists at Clayton

In studying the postcards, he became interested in the lives of the photographers the publishers who made them. He researched the background of all of the publishers and photographers in his collection, for which biographical details can be found on his website The website has become a well used historical and geographical record and will be preserved in posterity.

Lot 3230 Steam Roller accident at Littlehampton

Rendel gained great pleasure from collecting postcards and saw each one as a puzzle requiring historical and biographical interpretation. He spent many happy hours scouring postcard fairs and auctions for unusual and rare images. Meticulously assembled over more than three decades, you now have the opportunity to purchase his collection grouped into lots by locality and theme.

Toovey’s and the Williams Family would like to thank Bob Cairns for his kind assistance in sorting the collection.

The online catalogue for the first part of the collection is available here.

Rupert Toovey appointed as Deputy Lieutenant for West Sussex

The Revd. Rupert Toovey., DL

The directors and staff at Toovey’s would like to congratulate Rupert on his appointment as a Deputy Lieutenant for West Sussex. Appointment to the office of Deputy Lieutenant is in recognition of distinguished service to the community, or to the country or county.

Throughout his career, Rupert has supported charities and communities across the county both personally and through his business. As an art historian he has a particular interest in medieval wall paintings and Modern British Artists working in Sussex. He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in London, and a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. He remains a keen advocate for building communities through art, music and heritage. In 2010, Rupert was ordained in the Church of England. He serves as a self-supporting Priest in the Diocese of Chichester whilst working full-time at Toovey’s. In short, his appointment is very well deserved!