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But after the staging at the home of the Earl of Devon from February 6 to 8, it seems Mrs Ede has proved her point.

True, there have not been many select, vetted quality fairs in the West Country, but this new fixture proved there is a demand for one.

Well-known local dealers strongly supported the fair from the first announcement, and the local press were also very encouraging. The public responded in droves, with the only complaint being that there were far too many visitors.

“I must apologise to both our exhibitors and visitors, we really could not have predicted the sheer number of people who attended,” Sue said, and promised, “We will make sure that the fair will be much more comfortable for everyone with the addition of a marquee in November.”

Of the 35 or so exhibitors, it was the local trade who fared particularly well, with some dealers, like the Quay Gallery from Exeter, having to restock every day. Mark Davis of Quay said, “There were very high numbers through the door and we were well into five figures on the first day.

Everyone who was sent a ticket attended, but we also sold to new West Country contacts and around 50 per cent was sold to new customers.”

Among Mr Davis’s sales was a good amboyna Regency bookcase in the manner of George Bullock.

Godolphin Fine Art from Chagford sold their prize painting within the first hour, and the owner Sue Freeman was another who enjoyed sales to both regular and new clients. She also noticed business was appreciably up back at the shop.
The local contingent excelled, but some of the dealers from further afield also had a good fair, with porcelain, rugs and jewellery in demand. All lauded the new contacts made.

The crowds were not put off by some severe weather, but the Earl of Devon responded magnificently, as befits a man whose castle recently won an award for Outdoor Venue of the Year. A tractor and trailer was arranged to ferry the fairgoers from the car park to the fair and back.

Many local dealers who turned up to view the new event have expressed an interest in showing at the next Powderham fair from November 12 to 14 when, with the addition of a marquee, there should be room for at least 45 standholders.