Carleton Varney
Carleton Varney pictured in his second home in Shannongrove House, Co Limerick, says that there is no good or bad taste, only taste.

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

Varney, whose past clients include Joan Crawford, the late Shah of Iran and five consecutive First Ladies, from Jackie Kennedy to Barbara Bush, gained the nickname Mr. Colour based on his use of bright patterns and multi-coloured designs.

Varney has promised that his talk on the second day of the fair is set to tackle the topic of brown furniture’s future: “the greatest question is brown or white. Where is the world going with this? Brown furniture is dead is what many antique dealers believe, but is it true?”

Varney comes from his 2015 overhaul of the Colony Hotel in Palm Beach, Florida, where he says he applied a personal touch.

“I don’t believe there’s good taste of bad taste,” Varney says. “There’s just taste and the first room you remember when you were young is a foundation for your taste.”

Varney’s talk is titled ‘Decorating around your personality.’ It is one of 13 lectures that will take place at the fair, including one by Julian Radcliffe of the Art Loss Register.

Fair play

The 51st Irish Antique Dealers Fair features XX exhibitors and is organised by the Irish Antique Dealers Association (IADA).

The fair was founded in 1965 and is believed to have helped the Irish antiques industry recover at a time when many antiques were being exported.

Today, IADA chairman George Stacpoole says, people are still attend the fair “to discover something different.”

“The fair is a fascinating insight into great craftsmanship throughout the ages,” Stacpoole adds, “attracting collectors and connoisseurs of all tastes.”

The fair runs from September 23-25 and takes place at the RDS in Dublin.