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The tally is well up on the same event last year, and I have noticed a significant rise in exhibitor numbers at some other recent Cooper fairs. As with the organisers’ flagship event at Snape, this fair is greatly helped by its location.

Even if there were no antiques, a couple of hours in one of the most beautiful parts of the Cotswolds would be a treat. But there are antiques aplenty and they will be available on the ground floor of the school within rooms set around the magnificent central hall, including the Orangery.

The increased number of standholders has made for a good mix of stock, which is generally datelined to pre-1920 with jewellery allowed to 1930, textiles to 1950 and later items at the discretion of the organisers (an indulgence which is welcome but tends to make the imposition of any datelines a rather meaningless exercise).

Local dealers include Tom King-Smith with period furniture, Naas Antiques with antique furniture and decorative items, Catherine Hunt with Chinese ceramics and textiles and Tetbury’s own Susan Shaw with silver and jewellery.

Nine exhibitors make their Westonbirt debut, but none more dramatically so than the Great Grooms antiques centres of Dorking and Hungerford who have hired a whole room with a large window overlooking the grounds which will be furnished as a roomset, complete with chandelier and fully dressed 10-seater dining table.

It should look good: Great Grooms manager Alison Winchcombe is in charge of the project and she used to be a professional window dresser.

Others showing for the first time include The Period Face from Somerset with early portraits, Linden House from Herefordshire with furniture and paintings, and Oakleaf Antiques from The Vale of Glamorgan with ceramics and glass.
Sue Ede, head of Cooper Fairs, feels that Westonbirt is very much a traditional antiques fair and that is its strength.

On the other hand, she sees the fair she launched last spring at Marlborough as very much a decorative affair, and will promote it as such. Indeed, it has been renamed The Wiltshire County Antiques and Decorative Fair for its next staging at the end of October.
Admission to Westonbirt is £4.50.