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London’s summer fairs scene remains in flux

25 July 2011Written by ATG Reporter

IN yet another change to the London summer fairs scene, Haughton International Fairs have announced that Art Antiques London next year will run over the later dates of June 13 to 20.

The announcement came just days after Masterpiece London closed its doors, and in the wake of much discussion at London's three June fairs surrounding the merits and the timing of the respective events.

This year, Art Antiques London ran from June 8 to 15, opening on the same day as the preview of Olympia International Fine Art & Antiques Fair (June 9-19). Masterpiece followed from June 29 to July 5.

In 2012, only five days of the eight-day run of AAL (held in a bespoke marquee in Kensington Gardens) will overlap with Olympia, which is scheduled for June 7 to 17.

Masterpiece is restricted to its later slot because of the time needed for the take down of the Chelsea Flower Show at the Royal Hospital Chelsea site earlier in June, and next year will open from June 28 to July 3, with a preview on June 27, still a week later than the close of AAL.

Speaking of her decision to put back the dates of AAL, Anna Haughton said she was concerned by the proximity of the fair's original dates to the double holiday announced to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee on June 4-5.

The reasons for this were twofold: first, that exhibitors would have to set up over the special double bank holiday, which would put up their costs and, second, the belief that some collectors may be away during the first week in June, using the bank holiday as part of a longer vacation.

The Royal Parks have agreed to the change of dates for the fair.

The organisers also believe that the fair's later dates will be popular with both dealers and collectors, who have bemoaned the hiatus between Olympia and AAL and Masterpiece.

However, the issue that concerned so many exhibitors this year remains: London's summer art and antiques season, once condensed into a matter of days, can now only be properly sampled across a month.

By Anna Brady

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