The annual fair takes place in Mayfair’s Berkeley Square and began this year with a typically bustling preview night, which included a visit from Julian and Lady Fellowes who stayed for some time speaking to various exhibitors.
Despite the muggy weather, visitors crowded into the preview and sales included a pair of 18th century Italian marquetry commodes, which Geoffrey Stead sold for a 5-figure sum.
By Friday, several exhibitors had brought in their own fans to supplement the large ones placed at intervals around the fair. A further challenge was posed by the particularly heavy rainfall on Friday morning, some of which found its way through tiny gaps in the tent roof which surround the square’s historic trees. However, response was quick and exhibitors continued to use the trees as integral parts of their stand design.
A total of more than 20,000 visitors passed through this year’s fair, including actor and stalwart of the London fair circuit Eddie Redmayne and decorator to the Beckhams, Rose Uniacke. Sir Ben Kingsley, BBC weather presenter Carol Kirkwood and Andrew Marr visited also during the ARNI Charity Party on the Wednesday of the fair.
Towards the end of the week, there was some concern about the number of visitors passing through. Still, in typical fashion, traffic picked up over the weekend.
“The customer base has been excellent here,” jewellery dealer Anthea Gesua of Anthea AG Antiques said. “We’ve met a lot of new contacts and 60-70% of our sales have been to new clients. Most of these have been UK based.”
Gesua sold a total of 25 pieces at the fair, including one for £25,000.
Jewellery was among the strongest-selling categories this year along with contemporary art, furniture and silver.
“We were pleased with the results this year and feedback from all our dealers has been positive,” said fair director Mieka Sywak. “The LAPADA team work incredibly hard all year round to deliver a Fair that attracts the right clients for our dealers.”
This year many agreed that the fair’s interior design, developed by Micha Weidmann and studio, allowed for better sightlines and clearer organisation throughout the fair; the result, whether direct or indirect, was a fair where many visitors arrived prepared to buy.
Despite ongoing public concerns over the ivory trade, Ellison Fine Art sold a total of 24 portrait miniatures, including a Nicholas Hilliard of Queen Elizabeth I for £10,000. Mark Goodger of Hampton Antiques, which scooped one of the fair’s awards for best object, sold a cigar box for £5000 and noticed a lot of interest from American buyers.
Holly Johnson sold a much-admired Osvaldo Borsani table at £26,000. Johnson said later the stand had met many potential clients and added that it was nice to see a “a younger crowd” in attendance this year.
Summing up this year’s fair, Anthea Gesua said: “LAPADA has a fantastic location and good sophisticated clients. It’s the right fair for us.”