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To accommodate the extra dealers Mrs Walker has spilled over into a second hall of the Harrogate International Centre in the heart of the elegant Yorkshire town, a location so quaint and picturesque in an Agatha Christie kind of way that it could have been designed for the selling of antiques.

However, part of the reason for the expansion is to facilitate a greater diversity of stock and, like most fairs of note nowadays, to get away from the purely antique look by bringing in work from later periods.

The centre of Harrogate itself may be redolent of a past era but clearly the fair has moved rapidly with the times. All the stock is vetted, but later datelines have been imposed to allow 20th century work to be shown alongside the more traditional.

Not that this Harrogate event is going heavily into designer mode; it will still be recognisable as a quality, classy antiques fair with a very impressive roster of dealers.

Furniture again looks strong with, among others, Wakelin & Linfield from Sussex; Lennox Cato from Kent, David Gibbins from Suffolk, Freshfords of Bath and one of the mainstays of the Harrogate trade, oak dealer Elaine Phillips.

Two more well known local businesses on parade are the Walker Galleries who will show 19th century work with an emphasis on Yorkshire artists, and Sutcliffe Galleries, also with mainly 19th century paintings. Other picture dealers showing include John Noott of Broadway and the Canon Gallery from Petworth.

Other specialists include London’s Laura Bordignon with Oriental ivories and the leading London team for all manner of fine antique boxes, June and Tony Stone.

Joining the fair this year are West Midlands art pottery firm The Blue Lady, who particularly favour Ruskin ware; Haynes Fine Art from Broadway; Koos Limberg from Perth with objects of art; the Graham Gallery from London with late 19th and early 20th century furniture, and Walter Moores from Leicester with more traditional fare.

Like many other fairs this Harrogate event has this year succumbed to the lure of a lecture programme, which will be held in a specially constructed theatre within the fair. Let us hope that, unlike some other events, the 80 seasoned exhibitors look upon such talks as an attraction rather than a distraction from the serious business of selling.
Admission is £6.