The organisers arrived at the decision last week and confirmed that the event, which usually runs in late June, would not take place in 2017.
“The market as a whole is difficult at the moment,” Anna Haughton told ATG. “Costs are rising rapidly and all the contractors want long-term commitments.”
Brian and Anna Haughton have organised many fairs, including the long-running Ceramics Fair & Seminar (incorporated into AAL) and The International Fine Art & Antique Dealers Show in New York (a date that provided the springboard for TEFAF New York).
Since 2010, AAL has been one of three major fairs, including Olympia and Masterpiece running almost concurrently during the London summer season.
Housed in a purpose-built marquee in Kensington Gardens, its seventh staging in 2016 was host to more than 60 British and international dealers. It opened to the public the morning after the EU Referendum on June 23, but despite anxieties from fairgoers and exhibitors, the fair reported solid results and increasing footfall throughout the event.
However, the Haughtons felt there was enough uncertainty over the state of the market to call off the event before planning for 2017 began.
Although Haughton Fairs’ calendar is now empty, this is not necessarily the end of event management for the pair. Anna told ATG they are working currently on one or two “different ideas” for events to take place at unspecified times.
The trade associations were quick to react to the news.
BADA CEO Marco Forgione said: “We are sorry to hear that AAL won’t be taking place next year. It is a fair that has had our support and affection for many years now.”
While some members of the trade had previously raised concerns over the viability of running three major fairs almost simultaneously, Forgione was firm that the BADA believes that such concentrations of events focus buyers’ minds. He added: “We are now actively working with our members to see how we can support them in reaching out to and engaging with buyers, collectors and curators”.
“Art Antiques London was an elegant, family-run event and a fixture in the London antiques calendar,” said Rebecca Davies, chief executive of LAPADA. “It will certainly be missed.”