It is back for its sixth consecutive edition from January 4-7, ushering in a year likely to be marked by continuing uncertainty over Brexit and ivory regulations, rising rents and rates and changing fashions.
But that’s no reason to expect poor results from this annual starting post, which over the past few years has been a chance for dealers to get started on the right foot.
The fair is organised by the Antiques Dealers Fair Limited (ADFL), directed by Ingrid Nilson who explains that timing is an important factor for the Mayfair event. For one thing, the relative quiet of the early calendar makes this a logical spot for ADFL to host its single annual London fair.
For another, it is a chance to reach international buyers who come to the capital for its most festive period and remain in the new year for some post-season shopping.
“Funnily enough there is often a tendency for buyers to spend on themselves,” says Nilson. “Early January can be a bit of ‘me time’ to go and splurge on a piece of jewellery after spending the weeks before finding gifts for others.”
It is tempting to see the fair as a sort of bellwether for the coming year, although quality of sales from one event to another are notoriously unpredictable.
If Nilson hazards one hope for 2018 it is that buyers come to these events armed with confidence. “There are so many things distracting people in retail at the moment. We need to get them through the door, spending money.”
Nilson is set to guide ADFL through three events in 2018 including those in Cheshire (February) and Petworth (May).
All are “manageable-sized fairs in nice locations” bringing together a selection of handpicked offerings, which, she adds, “is what the public is looking for when setting up interiors”.
Around 40 dealers stand at Mayfair. Among those at this edition is Atelier, which celebrates the fair’s location with a selection of geographically appropriate pictures.
The London and Jersey business is launching The London List, a quarterly catalogue of original oil paintings, watercolours and etchings of scenes from around the 610 square miles of Greater London. Some of the pieces from this catalogue will be on sale at the Mayfair event.
It also offers an assortment of other paintings such as mid-18th century Roman School painting of The Goddess Diana in a woodland setting, which is priced at £20,000.
Also attending is T Robert with a selection of jewellery including a platinum square-cut diamond and emerald ring by Eszeha (£5850), and Mary Cooke Antiques with an unusual George III rococo revival silver coffee pot (1817) by William Nolan of Dublin (£5000) among its selection of silver.
First-time exhibitors include Precious Flora, the brainchild of Cornelia Perquin who brings a selection of floral vintage and antique jewellery.
Also new this year is Flying Colours Gallery, which specialises in emerging contemporary British painters and sculptors, 19th and 20th century British and European paintings specialist Burlington and collector-turned-dealer Richard Hoppé Antiques, with a mix of antique perfume bottles, glass, tiles, ceramics and objets d’art.
The fully vetted fair has a dateline of 1970 for most areas and is partnered with the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST), which supports contemporary British craftsmanship.
Touch of romance
Among the pieces on offer is a trio of bronzes that once belonged to Jackie Collins (1937-2015), author of 32 novels, including The World is Full of Married Men (1968) and Hollywood Wives (1983).
Collins bought these pieces starting in the 1970s, around the time she also began writing for the screen.
The Art Deco cold-painted bronzes by Joseph Lorenzl, Joy, Stretched Dancer and Juliette, were included in the Bonhams sale Jackie Collins: A Life in Chapters held in LA in May and are now on offer from Hickmet Fine Arts.
Pictured above is the c.1930 figure Joy, depicting a dancer in full costume in an animated pose, which was acquired for the Collins collection in the 1980s. The figure measures 14½in (37cm high) with good detail and is raised on a rectangular stepped Brazilian green onyx base, signed to the side on the bronze base Lorenzl. It is priced at £3650.
All images are courtesy of their respective dealerships.