Birmingham’s NEC is once again about to host the egalitarian jamboree of the antiques world.
Through thick and thin, the triannual 'Antiques for Everyone' fairs have been a calendar fixture for dealers and collectors alike since 1986, with a big first-day queue of private buyers mingling with the trade from across the UK and abroad.
While it may not be as enormous as it was a decade or so ago, it is still the largest vetted and stand-fitted event of its kind and there are around 300 exhibitors at the next fair from November 1-4 in halls 17-19 in the vast and admittedly unlovely NEC.
This number is a few up on this time last year according to Clarion Events' organiser Tiffany Pritchard, who has her work cut out organising all three Antiques for Everyone fairs plus the National Fine Art & Antiques Fair in January and a host of other events for different industries.
The familiar two-section format remains the same.
The 'smarter' section is in the middle, with all exhibits (bar art and sculpture) pre-dating 1940, flanked on either side by the popular section 2 where all items pre-date 1970, with smaller stands featuring generally lower-value collectors' and vintage pieces - the latter of which has been encouraged in recent years as part of an attempt to capture a younger audience.
While it is the last-ever fair for Fred Nickson of Chiltern Antiques from Henley-on-Thames, who plans to retire after the event, for ten dealers this is a debut Antiques for Everyone. Three period furniture dealers come to section 1: Stagshead Antiques, Lyndhurst; Marcus Rex Antiques, Cambridgeshire and James Holiday Antiques, Oxfordshire.
Section 2 takes on the remainder of the first-timers: Emma Duveen (writing slopes, porcelain and other small items, Surrey); Ceejays Silver & Antiques (silver, Goole); Shires Antiques (general antiques, Northamptonshire); David & Violet Schiska (Chinese studio pottery, Birmingham); Linda Tinker (ceramics, glass and silver, Derbyshire); CBE Quality Clocks (Wolverhampton) and picture dealers Cornucopia from Northern Ireland.
Works of Art
It's hard to touch the sides of the list of regular NEC-goers. As always, this time there is a strong showing of often quite affordable collectors' pieces, particularly Arts & Crafts, Art Deco and Nouveau ceramics, works of art and furniture from the likes of Andrew Muir, Art Nouveau Lighting, M&D Moir, Solo Antiques, Circa 1900, James Strang, Deco Dave, Gazelles of Lyndhurst and Le Style 25.
Ceramics and glass are a strong suit, with English porcelain and pottery offered by many, including David and Sally March, Roger de Ville, H.&R. Cooke and John Newton, and glass by Mark J. West, Brian Watson and Joscelyn Vereker.
Meanwhile, Anderson Jones, Scarab, Brieve Antiques, Greenstein and Ann Evans are among the numerous jewellers.
Period English furniture, both town and country pieces, is a staple, with exhibitors including Midwinter Antiques, Peter Bunting, Mark Seabrook, Melody Antiques, Shires Antiques, Lawrence Shaw Antiques, Cantelo Antiques and S.& S. Timms.
Pictures and Sculpture
Pictures and sculpture, from the 18th century to the present, is also a core component at every Antiques for Everyone and John Simpson of Ryland Fine Art has decided to take two stands in section 1 this time.
Blackbrook Gallery will once again bring their trademark stock of livestock paintings, while Benton Fine Art, Haynes Fine Art and Baron Fine Art all take a large range of works from the 19th and 20th century.
Contemporary artists are represented by Callaghans Fine Paintings & Contemporary Bronzes, A.J. Art, Eliza the Gallery and Art World Ltd.
Some vintage fashion dealers have been welcomed into the fold over the past few years and one, Suzanne Rafferty from Gloucestershire, will be exhibiting vintage fur and pelts, with an internet show on how to recycle and 'upcycle' vintage furs.
"We are going to appear on television prior to the show to encourage anyone to come and bring their furs for valuation, and our dressmaker and fur specialist will be highlighting what to do with those inherited items that you have in the attic that you no longer want," said Suzanne.
Finally, Nigel Reynolds has been an avid collector of oil lamps since the mid-1960s, and is treasurer of the Historic Lighting Club. He has lent 80 lamps from his collection to this fair's feature display.
The lamps date from 1880 to 1940 and, hoping to encourage more visitors to delve into this collecting field, Nigel will be on hand to answer questions about his collection.