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For some years, Mrs Foster has been anxious to hold a top-quality fair at the NEC, independent of her thrice-yearly Antiques For Everyone events which are unquestionably popular but, with two sections, are designed to have a broad, rather than prestigious, appeal.

Her opportunity came last year following the demise, after 13 years, of the January LAPADA fair at the NEC.

It has to be admitted that few really mourned the passing of the Birmingham LAPADA fair and many regulars at that event signed up for the new January fair.

Everyone agreed the first National Fine Art & Antiques Fair looked good in terms of both stock and presentation - the Forum, with its dark walls and atmospheric lighting, is always a dramatic venue and it was after the LAPADA fair left that hall that it went downhill.

Unfortunately, the first NFA&AF was unlucky with the weather.

Blizzards killed business on the opening day and, although subsequently things picked up, it was not a memorable debut in terms of business achieved.
But the exhibitors thought this was a fair with a future and many signed up for this month's staging which will host some 90 dealers.

The word is that this year's fair is not much like the old LAPADA fair, and although it still has plenty of association members there are fewer than last year, and the exhibitor list has moved upmarket.

There will be a lot of names familiar from the quality fairs circuit, among them Haynes Fine Art, Wakelin & Linfield, Laura Bordignon, Mary Cooke, Nicholas Shaw, Shapiro and Alan Walker.

The fair looks particularly strong on period furniture with Anthemion, William Cook, Paul Hopwell and W.R. Harvey among the specialists.

There are a dozen or so new dealers to the fair and those making their debut include Millington Adams from Cheshire with period furniture, Paul Champkins from London with Oriental work, Lincoln mirrors specialist Tony Williams and Anglesey jewellers Plaza.

With prices ranging up to £500,000 (for a painting) there will be a wide variety of stock on offer, all vetted.

A general dateline of 1940 applies, with exceptions such as furniture, which must be pre-1914, and fine art and sculpture which is allowed right up to the present.