The queue on the first day to gain entry to Masterpiece at the Chelsea Barracks in London.

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That was the opinion of all the exhibitors we spoke to at the preview, and they included a host of top international names who have shown at TEFAF Maastricht, Paris Biennale, Palm Beach and Grosvenor House.

From the moment you glimpsed the facade of the structure that housed the fair, it was obvious this was something special. It could not be called a marquee since it appeared on the Chelsea Barracks site down from Sloane Square as a vast brick edifice - even close up.

Expectations were not dimmed inside since it was spacious, stylish and welcoming, with an ambience unanimously deemed unequalled.

Billed as Masterpiece, the Best of the Best, the fair lived up to its billing.

The stunning look was matched by a stunning stock and the mix of art, antiques and luxury goods worked, although the art and antiques dominated.

Seasoned exhibitors described the event as uplifting and a new fairs experience. Dealer after dealer among the 118 standing said they were so awed and impressed by the fair and its organisation that even if they made no money this time around they would definitely be returning for what they termed the fair of the future.

Ex-Grosvenor House exhibitors sceptical about Masterpiece attended the preview and told us they would be applying to join next year. By the end of preview day some 70 additional dealers wanted to be considered.

There were significant sales at up to over £500,000 on the first day, but while not irrelevant, that is for once not the point. Exhibitors said they were just pleased to be standing at the fair that London has been waiting for - and they meant it.

By David Moss