Among the earliest sales was a £2000 still-life by Adrian Ryan (1920-88). It was offered by 20th century British art dealer Freya Mitton, who also found a new home for a Mary Fedden oil.
She was among 50 exhibitors at the event, which runs until Sunday in a marquee on the grounds of Petworth Park in West Sussex. Though many major trade events have been postponed until at least October, this fair was granted the right to go ahead by The National Trust, which classed it as an outdoor event.
For many dealers and fair-goers it is the first physical event to take place since The Open Art Fair was cut short in March. Before the event, dealers predicted that clients would be eager to return to a more traditional way of shopping and spending. In many categories this so far seems true, especially up to the mid-four-figure range.
“All the customers are here to spend,” dealer Julian Eade said. He reported buyers from Birmingham and London spending from £20-3500 on offerings such as a Coalport teacup and saucer made for the Chicago World Fair of 1893.
Local dealer Jamie Rountree of Rountree Tryon dubbed it: “one of the most exciting days ever spent at a fair.” His sales included an oil of Orient Liner Orcades at night by Charles Pears (1873-1958), which was offered for a price in the region of £16,500.
Clock dealer Richard Price, meanwhile, reported selling two good carriage clocks, priced at £4000 each ‘before lunchtime’ on the first day, while Walton House Antiques sold a set of six George II walnut chairs, priced around £5000, to new clients from London.
Newcomers to the fair included Jenna Burlingham Fine Art, which made several Modern British Art Sales including a Martin Bradley and a Mary Adshead, as well as Ellis Fine Art, which parted with a Cuban mahogany bureau, c.1750, to a couple from Reigate within two hours of the fair opening.