Sunday - 21 December 2014

Will Olympia fair be this year’s winter warmer?

09 November 2012Written by Anna Brady

It seems only yesterday that the June Olympia fair closed its doors at the West London venue, but its wintry cousin is almost upon us.

The Winter Fine Art & Antiques Fair,held in the National Hall from November 12-18, is now 22 years old and is a smaller, more British occasion than the summer event, and although final numbers weren't confirmed at the time of writing, around 115 exhibitors are expected this year, slightly fewer than 2011.

The November Olympia fair has for many years been a winter staple for visitors and exhibitors, a chance to catch London business in the run-up to Christmas, and it is seen as a bellwether for the wider trade.

Last year 23,587 people visited, with 3000 on the opening night, and while there were some good sales, the tough economy did have an effect, as organiser Clarion Events' portfolio director Chris Gallon said: "These are not easy times and I'm pleased that trade was good across the board."

Ten dealers join the fair for the first time this year. From the West London decorative enclave Lillie Road come Candau Antiques, who deal in French furniture, decorative objects and works of art. Other London-based dealers include: James Kinmont Fine Art (Modern prints); Piergabriele Vangelli de Cresci (works of art from antiquity to the 20th century); and John Iddon Fine Art of Richmond (20th century British art).

From further afield come James Miles from the West Midlands (20th century British furniture and pictures), Norfolk clock specialists Olde TimeHall-Bakker Decorative Arts from Oxfordshire, Gray Modern & Contemporary Art from Somerset and Kinghams Art Pottery from Kingston upon Thames, as well as Jonathan Marchal who is based in France (Chinese and Japanese works of art).

Hansord from Lincolnshire (furniture, works of art and scientific objects), Richard Gardner Antiques of Sussex and Kent-based Sim Fine Art (18th to 20th century paintings and prints) will all return to the fair after a break.

Furniture and Art

English period furniture has always been a key element to Winter Olympia and habitual exhibitors include Wakelin & Linfield, Patrick Sandberg Antiques, Peter BuntingRobin Cox Antiques, S.&S. Timms and W.R. Harvey & Co.

The other dominant force here are the art dealers, with 20th century print specialists Dinan & Chighine showing alongside the Scottish-based dealer in Romantic art, Campbell Wilson, British pictures dealer Harry Moore-Gwyn, Charles Plante, who always creates an intriguing, dense hang of small-scale 19th and 20th century works, and Walker Galleries, who deal in 19th and 20th century British and European oils and watercolours.

The range here is largely traditional, perhaps more so than at the summer event, and there is a popular mix of collecting fields alongside the art and furniture, with such smaller items often find themselves bought as Christmas presents.

Japanese works of art are represented by Laura Bordignon Antiques, while Richard Price & Associates bring clocks and Alan Walker Barometers have, predictably, barometers.

Geoffrey Breeze takes his selection of antique canes, Paul Bennett shows silver, John Howard has early English pottery and Alexandra Alfandary will offer Meissen porcelain.

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