Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

When I visited on the second day many standholders said it was quiet, but as usual they thought by the close business would have almost crept up on them and they would be into some profit.

That proved to be the case, with a busy final weekend. Organiser Caroline Penman commented: “It has been far better than anyone expected. American and overseas visitors have returned in good numbers, so business has been good for many exhibitors. Above all, I think the portents for 2004 are much more encouraging.”

Bell Fine Art from Winchester had a successful debut selling 20 paintings and another newcomer, Bexhill-on-Sea clock dealer David Pullen, also enjoyed good sales.
Regular exhibitor Mark Seabrook from Huntingdon consistently enjoys a good Chelsea, and this was no exception. He noted sales throughout and summed up: “The fair once again attracted the right visitors. I sold treen, metalware, small furniture and carvings to a number of Americans and to many UK collectors who always come to Chelsea.”

Plenty of dealers left the fair anticipating follow-up business but few can have scored quite as quickly as West Sussex period furniture specialist David Foord-Brown who told me the morning after the fair closed he got a telephone call from a fairgoer who had decided to buy an 1806 silver gilt dessert service for 22 place settings. It was priced at over £15,000.