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But on fair preview night, some 100 BADA exhibitors must be on their best behaviour. After all, there are deals to be done and old acquaintances renewed.  

Earlier, exhibitors had to vacate the fair’s marquee for the very serious business of fair judging to get underway.

Pictures and objects in optimal position? Check. Lighting just right? Definitely. Correct captions on objects? Of course! As judges circulated, this was not the time for last-minute bursts of creativity.

After gongs were handed out the party started in earnest at 6.30pm as 2000 guests – up a third on last year - streamed through the carpeted halls.

Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism, Michael Ellis MP, took himself away from Westminster’s political maelstrom to celebrate the best that BADA dealers have to offer. 

Later on, Jacob Rees-Mogg MP arrived, looking ready to be distracted by beautiful art and antiques. In such convivial surroundings, it seemed rude to mention the ‘B’ word.

And at the party’s close, event security needed to be at its polite firmest to eject a large remaining group of dealers and guests, clearly not wanting the party to end.

Images: AC Cooper.