A view of the 2015 Olympia fair
A view of a previous edition of the Olympia summer fair now known as The Art & Antiques Fair, Olympia

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The Showcase initiative at The Art & Antiques Fair, Olympia (June 27-July 3) mirrors the promotion of new talent that has been a popular fixture at TEFAF Maastricht since 2008.

The five dealers – chosen, said Olympia fair director Mary Claire Boyd, “based on their high standard, positive reputation and varied expertise” – will benefit from discounted stands in a designated area on the balcony level.

They will be joining around 160 other dealers, many of them long-time Olympia exhibitors, offering more than 55,000 items with prices ranging from £100 to £1m.

Boyd said: “Our existing clients are very important to us and promoting emerging dealers is an investment in the future of the fair. We are very much looking forward to working with them for years to come.”

The showcase dealers are porcelain specialist Simon Pirzada, decorative antiques dealer Adam Bentley and three picture dealers from the capital: The Parker Gallery, Store Street Gallery and Adam Gahlin Fine Art.

The quintet have all been trading for under seven years but include two fledgling concerns.

Bentley, who has 10 years’ experience as a restorer, and Archie Parker, formerly of Dreweatts and Bloomsbury, have both traded for under six months. They were approached by Clarion Events while exhibiting at Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fairs.

Among the attractions is a significant reduction on a typical stand rent. Though the cost for each Showcase stand varies depending on its size, a 40% price break is estimated.

Eighteen other new dealers have signed up for the summer fair this year in addition to those in the showcase. These new dealers include Macey and Sons Ltd, Granta Fine Art, Guelfucci Gallery, The Whitley Art Gallery, Gholamreza Dargahishafa, Galerie Furstenberg, Alexander Ancient Art, Emma Duveen Art & Decorative Antiques, Camburn Fine Art France, John Adams Fine Art, The Peartree Collection Ltd, Galerie Buter and Signed and Designed.

Returning after a few years’ absence are David Bedale, Glaisher & Nash, Galerie Bocara, Galleria dei Conorari , specialist Tunbridge Ware dealer, Amherst Antiques and, after 10 years, Ivo Bouwman Fine Art.

ATG Comment 

It’s easy to dismiss initiatives such as this as mere ‘PR stunts’.

However, the cost of standing at major London art and antiques fairs is a key barrier to the development of the next generation of dealers.

Any effort to ‘blood’ some of the less-established members of the trade in the Olympia experience – and perhaps brings some more affordable objects back to the fair – should be congratulated.