It turns out that a pair of three-foot pricket candlesticks, an advertising sign and a heavy convex mirror are not the easiest things to transport with only two hands on the London Underground at rush hour. In fact, the kindness of strangers becomes crucial.
Such was the position I found myself in on the way back from
The Bath Decorative Antiques Fair a couple of years
ago, having decided to leave my car at home so I couldn't buy
anything. That didn't work.
But that's the thing about this fair. It's often just too
tempting and, as someone with limited funds and little
self-control, I can confirm it's just the sort of event that throws
up quirky and affordable pieces; a low-key, popular event whether
you're a seasoned dealer queuing for the hectic trade opening or a
Part of the charm of this eclectic event is that it has always
been a little scruffy round the edges, and it is held in The
Pavilion in North Parade Road, a building that always has the
feeling of a school assembly hall.
Initially launched by Bath dealer Robin
Coleman to promote the Bath and Bradford-upon-Avon
Antiques Dealers' Association, this year's event from March 7-9
(trade day Thursday, March 6) marks its 25th anniversary. Robin
organised and exhibited at the event for 23 years until last year,
when he sold it to Sue Ede and Pete
Hodder, otherwise known as Cooper Events,
who organise numerous art and antiques fairs around the UK. But,
conscious of the fears that Bath might lose its individuality, they
have kept it as a stand-alone event, separate from the Cooper
Antiques Fairs stable.
Although the trade day has always been busy, business
traditionally tailed off a little afterwards and one of Sue's aims
has been to sustain footfall over the weekend by bringing in some
of her following among private buyers, and there has been some
subtle 'smartening' of the venue. Not too much, though.
Organised by Gail McLeod, who has been involved
with the fair since the beginning and is now a consultant to the
organiser, this year a group of the Antiques Young Guns are
involved, adding some new blood to the event, many of them only
having exhibited at a handful of fairs or not at all.
They include two from Perthshire: Lady
Kentmores from Callander and Clarke
Pickett from Rait; Doe &
Hope (Bedfordshire); Jason Clarke
Ltd (Berkshire); and, returning to the fair,
D. Larsson Interior & Antikhandel from
"I am delighted to welcome a number of new faces for 2014
and others who have not shown here for several years," said Sue.
"We enjoyed a strong fair last year and, with greater breadth now
than ever and the addition of the 'Young Guns', it's looking like a
fascinatingly varied and interesting fair with plenty of choice for
trade and private buyers."
Other new exhibitors this year among the 45 exhibitors include
Scandinavian by Design; William Morris
Antiques; Lucia Collectables;
Elham Antiques; Smithson
Antiques; Aeology, London (part of the
Decorative Collective, Petworth); Jack Dawes;
Carr Linford & David Levi; Ancient
& Period; Not wanted on voyage;
Jo Brayshaw; Chris Jenkins and
Jo Bennett Fine Original Paintings.
I'm taking my car this time.
Antiques Trade Gazette is the weekly bible of the fine art and antiques industry. Read articles like this every week in the Antiques Trade Gazette or ATG app. Click here to subscribe today.