The Apprentice: High street solicitor still in the running after art dealing challenge

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Contains spoilers: Sarah Ann Magson one step closer to £250,000 investment

Image credit: BBC

High street solicitor Sarah Ann Magson is safely through to the next round of The Apprentice after her team secured victory in last night’s art dealing task.

The latest episode of the BBC’s business competition saw contestants head north to Glasgow. The two teams were tasked with selecting a contemporary artist’s work to be sold at their very own gallery event. Selling to both regular gallery-goers and to corporate clients, the competition for sales was on.

Heading up the corporate side was sub-team leader Magson. Their client, a luxury sound system business, was looking for art depicting “innovation, provenance and experience”. Unfortunately, Magson’s sub-team struggled to explain the client’s artistic vision to the rest of the group.

When asked the meaning of provenance, the 37-year-old Middlesbrough-based civil law specialist answered: “I thought provenance was in relation to the province you’re from.” Magson’s interpretation was certainly better than that offered by fellow contestant Camilla Ainsworth: “So, provenance, provoke…?”

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Failing to grasp the client’s instructions, Magson’s team selected a collection of abstract paintings that ultimately missed the mark. Unimpressed by her team’s choice, the client explained that the artwork was too subjective and failed to reflect their high-end sound system brand. The client’s managing director told the team:

“With precision engineering systems you want to take the subjectivity out of it, making it an objectively higher quality listening experience. We won’t be buying today.”

Although Magson’s team lost the corporate sale, their collection proved to be successful among art enthusiasts — handing them a total profit higher than their rivals. Having avoided being sent back to her province, Magson and the rest of her team left the boardroom triumphant.

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She’s single-handedly making the rest of us look bad, one episode at a time


Frightening that a solicitor hadn’t come across the word ‘provenance’ before.


To be fair, I have no idea how an artwork is supposed to depict “provenance”. I suspect the client didn’t really know what the word means either.


I took it as meaning the artwork had to have a strong provenance (i.e. a compelling back story) as opposed to necessarily depicting it.

Stanley Pontlarge

Compelling back story in terms of evidence that it’s a) genuine and b) not stolen. Some sort of verifiable chain of ownership is what we’re looking for I think.


In what way is it frightening?

You’re a deluded muppet if you think all city (or regional) lawyers are walking dictionaries. I would confidently bet that many, put on the spot, couldn’t accurately define ‘provenance’.

Benny Morris

Her understanding of the word was (broadly) correct – it was the client who was misusing the word. Provenance means origin, source. You can’t “depict” it. Maybe you could have a work of art that “communicated” having a certain kind of provenance.


I’ve seen some pretty rank high street solicitors before, but this is really taking the biscuit.


What kind of fuckwittery is this?

Can we please go back to a society where intelligent educated people become professionals.

And by the way let’s Brexit NOW as a first step to bringing some sanity and normalizing our society again.



You’d need to drastically cut the number of solicitors then.

Or maybe the brightest and best of this generation have realised they can do better than being a bumbling country solicitor?

Or maybe they were always like this, just with posher accents?


“You’d need to drastically cut the number of solicitors then.”

– Fair point.

Nice but dim

As a trainee solicitor with not many brains but a very plummy accent, I assure you all that the tradition of posh incompetence is far from over.


Mishcon or Withers?

nice but dim

Offshore – Channel Islands firm


No such thing.

nice but dim

Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man don’t exist?!


Ah, remember the good old days of Nicholas De Lacy Brown. Back then the legal profession was properly represented on the Apprentice.

LSE LLB Year 2

Adam f**k’s up another article! Its £250k not £500k.




Let’s be honest, most lawyers reading this understand provenance but would struggle to know how this is conveyed in artwork. Myself included.


They didn’t understand provenance though


This woman is bringing the profession into more disrepute than Lord Harley and Phil Shiner Combined.

Thick or what?


Sad really. Your comment, that is.


She’s dumb as two short planks.

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