The History of Artique
Within months of meeting in 1971, and with an investment of £60, George and Ali’s business venture was underway and they secured their first shop at the princely sum of £1.50 per week.
The first years of any venture are always very tough and the business was supported by their restaurant jobs, painting coffin plates and cleaning gravestones. Their other great help was a local bank manager who saved them on numerous occasions. After several years, a bigger premises was needed and around 1980, the move to Talboys House was made. The business wasn’t the only thing to be expanding and in 1981 Gulliver was born, followed by Naomi in 1983. Before long, George and Ali were travelling to India to buy lavish beaded dresses and trimmings for the shop and their love of the East quickly developed.
Lapis Lazuli, the wonderous blue gem mined in the remote mountains of Badakshan, Afghanistan, also became an important part of their lives. This revered first product of The Silk Road carried by pack ponies over the high Hindu Kush for thousands of years, found its way to Tetbury. Carpets from Afghanistan, tribal furniture from the North West Frontier and exotic interiors from India started to appear in the shop along with the birth of their third child Lily in 1992.
The earlier move to Talboys House gave George and Ali the opportunity to develop their love affair with the East, but trading from such an historic building also led to them developing an interest in architecture and it was not long before they decided to restore a havali (Indian courtyard house). With little investment and even less know how, they started work on a derelict property in a village outside Delhi which is now their home when they visit India.
A few years ago they started work on a new project to restore another havali in the desert city of Jodhpur in Rajasthan. This now operates as a small hotel and they have had the pleasure of taking many customers and friends from Tetbury to stay there with them.
Over the years, Artique has developed and grown to become one of the country’s leading sources of Central Asian artifacts.
So with the help of Gulliver who is involved in the business and Charlie who does everything from running the warehouse and doing deliveries to lighting the woodburner in the morning, Artique progresses into the future. As George says “When we open on a Monday morning we never know who will walk in”. It’s never really been a shop but a meeting place where the most inspiring people walk through the doors and throw out seeds of wisdom and all you have to do is catch them.