National Button Society - Memorials

Adrian Sadgrove



Here are some remembrances by fellow button collectors & dealers:

       Adrian Sadgrove was a respected London dealer, who passed away the summer of 2008. Since 1992, he crossed the Pond to exhibit his beautiful buttons, share his wealth of knowledge and his droll humor at our National conventions. A few years ago, he started attending the Florida show, regaling the 2007 attendees with his unforgettable performance as the Scarecrow. His loss leaves a great void in our button world and in the hearts of his many friends.  Adrian was my good friend and my Arts & Crafts button mentor.  I was a Liberty & Co. snob until he helped me see beyond its walls, enriching my collecting experience beyond words.

Elaine Cossman

       On arriving home from a very sad day at Portobello the emotional situation swept over me like a giant wave, As you can imagine  Gabby and the children Elliott and Emily are devastated by the death of Adrian.  Gabby has lost a loving husband and the children a devoted dad who was so proud of them. Adrian and I spent many hours traveling together all over the U.K. by trains, buses and cars to buy buttons. We talked of many things and I know how proud he was and  the tremendous  love he felt for Gabby and the children. He was without a doubt the most knowledgeable button dealer in the U.K. a very artistic man who was an authority on Art Nouveau. Most of all he was a great human being and to me a very good friend with a great sense of humor who will be greatly missed by all the many friends and colleagues he had all over the U.K.

A few days later:

When Gabby came to see me yesterday it was emotional. Gabby and the children are making the memorial service a “ Celebration of Adrian’s Life” The children want a memorial plaque where they can go to remember their loving Dad and in coming years to take their children to and tell them what a wonderful man their Granddad was.


After the service:

The London Oratory Catholic Church is one of the most beautiful in London; it was full this morning with mourners who had gathered to pay their respects and say goodbye to our very own Adrian.  He was given a Requiem Mass; it was magnificent and so emotionally moving; Gabby, Elliott, Emily and Father George did Adrian proud with the arrangements for the funeral. The thirty –two singers of the Oratory School Schola directed by Lee Ward whose ages ranged from seven years old to twenty dressed in their wine colored cassocks with the white tops. As Father George led the coffin into the church, then slowly to the altar, the organ played, then the choir started to sing and their crystal clear voices echoed around the church; they sounded like angels. Nobody in the church could control their tears; it was so emotional. Emily and Elliott read a passage from the bible. Gabby also gave an address; she talked about Adrian’s life, his love of traveling to foreign countries; she read out one of the many messages you sent (they have given Gabby & the family so much comfort). She spoke of Adrian’s sense of humor; he only married her, he once joked because on their first dinner date she had picked the cheapest dinner on the menu.  The family had printed a catalogue which had a list of the service. It had a beautiful picture of Adrian and the children when they were young on the front, on the back it had one of Adrian and Gabby when they were teenagers which he had sent to her and written the following message” Believe in today and be hopeful for tomorrow, memories are the harvest of our lives all my love Gabs “ It was a very emotional day for all of us who were there, so moving a day I will never forget. Adrian was given a magnificent funeral, one he rightly he deserved.  I lit a candle in the church on behalf of each and every one of you who had the pleasure of knowing Adrian..


Jim Stephenson (England)

You can see the picture of this button in the slide show below.

Susan Porter

       Adrian Sadgrove always had a twinkle is his eyes, and a smile on his face. He was kind, thoughtful, smart, knowledgeable, a gentleman, eager to play Charades or to enter into a theatrical production; he was always up for a museum visit or other sightseeing adventure. I came to know him slowly through chance encounters at antique shows and flea markets in England and France and New York. We'd share a cup of tea or coffee and talk about buttons and our mutual button friends, and then be on our way until the next time. Once after a chance encounter at the Pier Antiques Show in New York, Deb Hanson and I invited him to join us for a pre-planned sushi dinner with non-button friends--Adrian joined us; and caused us all to smile when he ordered a special small fish which he jokingly ate whole.

Jane Quimby

       Jane and I were shocked... when in Europe, we still expect to run into Adrian in any number of antique markets we all shopped at. He was one of the most honorable dealer’s and person in our little button world. He saved many wonderful livery buttons for me. The last being a beautiful larger medium silver plated owl holding a banner in it’s mouth with a fancy border. One that took my breath away as soon as I saw it! But then, Adrian always knew what buttons would do that to me. We all extend our heartfelt gratitude for the chance to know him and call him friend. Our hearts go out to Gabby, Elliott, Emily, Jim, Rita and his friends. I miss Adrian very much. I will always remember his smile, warmth, the dinner we shared with Adrian & Gabby in London and memorable times we shared in Florida.  

Click this link to see some pictures and video footage of Adrian at the 2007 Florida State button show.

With sadness,

Deborah Hanson

       Who can resist a tall, lanky, handsome guy with a British accent?   Certainly not me and certainly not most of my fellow button collectors who knew and loved Adrian.  He was a bit of a challenge to get to know but if you hung in there long enough you’d experience his dry wit, wry smile and warm and caring personality.  When he would first get together with my group of friends he was always very stiff and formal and never seemed to relax, a typical Brit.  Then came the day we were all visiting after a long day of room -selling  and it struck me that Adrian was actually LOUNGING on the bed laughing and being silly with the rest of us!  From that day on he was one of us and there would be many occasions for merriment and shared good times....from visiting museums, to outrageous charades or “Nuttin’ Honey” dice games, to piling in the car to go for ice cream, to climbing lighthouses, to frolics on the beach, to many many shared stories over meals, to an unforgettable display of his talent and warm spirit as the Scarecrow.  The day I will always remember is the day Adrian shared with me his favorite peaceful spot at a lakeside park in Florida.  I picture him there now and pray he has found his peace.

Linda Sicard

       Adrian was a warm wonderful gentle man. A quiet knight in shining armor really...on more than one occasion I personally witnessed Adrian taking care of one of our girls in an uncomfortable situation and without hesitation. I miss his mad charades skills, his expertise in our hobby, those warm genuine hugs, and the lovely calm he always exuded.

Joni Goldbarg

       A smile came to my face every time I saw Adrian.  Besides thinking he was just the cutest thing ever and so fun to be around, I had great respect and admiration for him.  In addition to all that wonderful button knowledge, he was a very cool and witty guy.  The button world is not the same without him.

Glenda Boyer

       Oh what to say about one whose passing left holes in so many hearts.  He was a charming English gentleman who refused to take his sock off for our annual foot pictures at National.  But on the other hand, he was the heart and soul of our slapdash group trying to pull off that ridiculous "Dorothy in Buttonland " skit at the Florida show.  Adrian as the scarecrow will always be with us.  

Sheila Brudno

       It's so hard to imagine that Adrian is not with us any longer.  He was such a wonderful person and a joy to meet at the Florida Button Convention and National Button Convention each year.


During quiet moments in the sales room he would let me take his bucket of livery buttons to my own sales table so I could sift through them while still manning my table.   I bought many livery buttons from him and will miss his warm smile and calm demeanor. 


As Trish mentioned, he will always be remembered in Florida for his Scarecrow performance.  It was then that everyone saw his shining personality come alive.


Maggie Johnson

       I would like to share a memory of Adrian, Me, and Linda Sicard from the Florida Show 2008.  We decided it would be fun to climb a lighthouse near Daytona.  What I remember best was that Adrian seemed to sprint to the top and Linda and I "suffered" to the top.  Later we three had a nice relaxing dinner and watched dolphins from the restaurant's window at our booth. What a wonderful evening.  I'm so happy I had this time with him that I will always cherish.



Mary Beers

       Oh I felt like I knew him.  He was such a big part of the "Wizard of Buttons", at the Florida Show 2 years ago.  I did buy a button from him at the last FL Show, and he was so happy that his child had just been accepted at a great school in England.  What a sweet man.  I am so, so sorry for his family and friends in England,  and everywhere he was known.

trish hargrave

       Adding to Trish and Maggie's thoughts-----"As Trish mentioned, he will always be remembered in Florida for his Scarecrow performance.  It was then that everyone saw his shining personality come alive." Remembering the many many ways that Adrian brought  joy, knowledge, grace, integrity and delight to our button world,


       Adrian was such a fortunate man to have so many friends in Buttondom and no doubt other aspects of his life.  I had met Adrian more or less in passing at button conventions but was not fortunate enough to get to know him better until I chaired the Florida 2007 Convention in Daytona Beach.  I have had a regret ever since that show, in that he asked me to be a part of his movie scene skit and I reluctantly declined as I was very busy with many show details I was already in one skit and was MCing the event.  His group did such an outstanding performance (and won the Oscar!), but his portrayal of the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz was grandiose.  I'd have never realized that behind that often reserved presence there could come such vitality that made people laugh with near hysteria! Barb and I will never forget his generosity during the Florida 2008 convention. 

Adrian, Buttondom will not be the same and to say you will be missed in no way says enough.            

Don and Barb Lanier

       Besides all of the wonderful buttons I had the pleasure of purchasing from Adrian, I have very fond personal memories of him during a trip to London in 2007. It was just before Christmas and he and Gabby took time to have dinner with us one evening. That same week, he offered to drive us to an antique fair - he even rented a car for the occasion - as usual, Adrian went above and beyond and was as genteel and gentlemanly as always. I am so grateful that we took that journey that day together. It was the last time I saw him but at the time, I just assumed that there would be other happy times we would meet and be able to spend time together - every moment is precious. Of course, Gabby and children are utmost in our thoughts but we will all miss him immensely, I am sure.

Peggy Bedford

       I would just like to truly thank everyone who helped in creating the memorial to my

father Adrian. Today ( January 2, 2011) was the first time I heard of the page and it really was hugely emotional reading through all the kind words people have said about him. It is still hard knowing the warmth and joy that he spread, that is not around today but to see 

the heartfelt messages of his friends at the button society was a real honor for me 

and I know he would have felt humbled by what everyone has said. For me he was 

a real hero and I used to always recall with fondness his stories when he would come 

back from a convention. One of my greatest memories of him was during the convention

in San Francisco just seeing him in his element with everyone still brings a smile to my face.

Writing this was hard as I still sorely miss him still but I was so overwhelmed by the kindness of the button community that writing this seemed like the right thing to do. It is always nice to see that he is still fondly remembered by so many people.

Elliott Sadgrove

Here are some photographs of Adrian:


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