CLARION Events announced last week that stand sales for the Summer Olympia fair this June are up over 100 per cent from this time last year.
With more than three months left to go
before the Olympia International Fine Art & Antiques
Fair opens from June 7-17, 135 dealers are already
committed, among them important returnees, as well as a good
selection of new names.
In the run-up to the June event last
year, Clarion made a conscious effort to reposition the event to
appeal to a broader spectrum of the trade, an approach that appears
to be paying off.
Twentieth century design specialist
Gordon Watson, who returns after a year's absence, explains: "Last
year I had a conflict of dates re the fair and my new TV career
with Channel 4 new series Four Rooms... This year happily
no such problem, so I am delighted to be back and raring to
Furniture and works of art dealership
Hansords declared themselves fans, with John Hansord saying: "There
is a new buzz amongst the dealers since last year's June Olympia
fair. Good business was done, including export sales, and it was an
impressive looking event."
Meanwhile Nicholas Mullany of Mullany,
a young London-based dealership specialising in Haute Epoque fine
art, has chosen to exhibit at Olympia for the first time this year
because, he says, "It is the most established of the London fairs,
which in the last few years has seen a return to something more
akin to the showcase of old."
His views echo a growing feeling that
fair director Chris Gallon has recognised the value in rekindling
the original character of the event as a busy marketplace rather
than continuing with what had been Clarion's earlier vision of
creating an exclusive, high-end wealth and culture fest.
Anthony Hepworth stopped exhibiting at
Olympia a few years ago when he thought that the number of
exhibitors offering his specialism of Modern British art had
reached saturation point. But, visiting the fair last year, he
said: "We were impressed. It was a very beautiful fair and hardly
anyone was selling Modern British pictures. So we decided that we
had to be there, it was missing our stock."
He also pointed out that "Clarion
didn't sell it to us - we approached them and asked to do the
Other exhibitors returning to the fair
after a break include Kay Michie, Anthony Outred, Jillings, Lennox
Cato, Jeroen Markies, Millington Adams and Van den
Newcomers to the fair include Clive
Loveless Primal Art and Tribal Gathering, Nicholas Haslam Ltd,
Andew Muir with 20th century ceramics, Swedish furniture dealers
Antiq. BR, and Drew Pritchard Ltd, with architectural
Kiel Shaw and Stuart Atkinson of
decorative dealership Fontaine are also new this year.
They explained: "We liked the general
direction, energy and attitude of the management team who seem very
keen to acknowledge and want to include dealers from the growing
decorative antiques market.
"The decorative market has remained
strong despite the economy and so we are pleased to be included as
it seems a natural progression for Fontaine."
Mr Gallon said: "2011 saw a good
trading fair across the board and this has translated into strong
rebooking with some very good new and returning dealers. We are
also concentrating on offering a broad and appealing mix of quality
exhibitors with the fair organised around the needs of the
He is taking a more flexible approach
to stand sizes and other aspects of the fair, to make it a better
commercial proposition for exhibitors.
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