History of Mallams

Since 1788 Mallams has been holding specialist, fine art and more general sales. Today our specialist and general valuers offer expert advice in many fields, including Paintings and Sculpture, Ceramics and Glass, Modern and Post-War Art, 20th-Century Design, Silver and Jewellery, Furniture and Garden Statuary, Chinese, Japanese and Islamic Art, Clocks and Barometers, Books and Manuscripts, and Collectables.

Our heritage and experience positions us as one of the leading UK auctioneers.


Mallams has been a well-established part of Oxford business life since its foundation by Richard Mallam in St Aldate’s in 1788. His son, Thomas (1786-1850) was also an auctioneer, as well as a tobacconist and timber merchant, and the family lived in what is now the official accommodation of the principal of St Hugh’s College.Mallams Auctioneers is the oldest firm of auctioneers in Oxford. Two-hundred-and-twenty-five years ago, in 1788, Richard Mallam (1756 – 1837) started a small auctioneering business from his house in Gloucester Green, Oxford. His son Thomas Mallam (1786 – 1850) then traded as an auctioneer at...

128 High Street

...still under the Mallam name. Thomas Mallam became Mayor of Oxford in 1839 and again in 1846 before his death in 1850. One of his sons (Thomas Mallam junior) founded a firm of solicitors in this building while another of his sons (James Richard Mallam) continued the auctioneering side of the business. The solicitors still reside at 126 High Street, under the name of Herbert Mallam Gower, while Mallams Auctioneers moved to St. Michael’s Street – our current address – circa 1950.

The present auction room on St Michael’s Street was once a pre-fabricated hut in what was then the garden of 24a St. Michael’s Street. It opened on this new site as ‘Mallam, Payne and Dorn’ but was later simplified to ‘Mallams’. In 1986 a new saleroom and offices designed by Barnett, Briscoe and Gotch were opened on the same site in a building called ‘Bocardo House’ where Mallams is still found today – the only auction house right in the heart of one of the world’s finest cities.

Mallams Auctioneers is very proud of the company’s long and distinguished history, and continues to be one of the leading auction houses outside London.