Charlotte Whitenight from Baltimore is a regular buyer at IACF Newark which she has been visiting for 20 years, making three annual trips with fellow shopper, Diane Afes-Smith from Washington DC.
“We’ve been friends since we met at Newark many years ago. For us this is definitely ‘the Big One’,” she says.
Now retired from her career in the public sector, Whitenight stands at fairs in the US, mostly in Washington DC. “I’ve exhibited at fairs for 25 years, only part-time when I was working.”
Like many overseas buyers at IACF Newark, Whitenight and Abes-Smith often make an extended trip of it, visiting fairs, centres and shops in Britain and France, sometimes being away from home for nearly a month. Whitenight purchases small portables which she takes home on the flight.
“I buy garden objects (your pieces are way more interesting than I can find in the US), costume jewellery, some silver including serviette rings, vesta cases or bracelets, wooden boxes, tureen, brass and copper objects, children’s books and art, mostly oils. Just about any kind of small object. Anything English really. English antiques always go down well back home.”
She added: “There is always a lot of help at Newark both from the fair staff and the stallholders. We can always find good quality antiques and can usually get these for a good price.”
Whitenight continued: “I love travelling to England and do most of my buying in the London area – at markets, fairs, boot sales and shops.
“I buy just about any kind of small object. Anything English always goes down well back home
“My favourite large antique fairs are Newark, Peterborough and Kempton Park, and I always co-ordinate my buying trips with their dates. Before I buy a plane ticket and book a hotel, I check the relevant websites, especially ATG’s, to see what’s on. My favourite antique shops and centres are in Lewes, East Sussex and Sawbridgenorth in Hertfordshire.”
In answer to my question if she was a collector herself, Whitenight answered ‘no’, adding: “Owning beautiful things, if just for a short time, is enough for me.”
• The next IACF Newark is on Thursday and Friday, August 17-18.
• The next fortnightly Tuesday Sunbury Antiques Market at Kempton Park Racecourse is on Tuesday, June 27.
• The biannual Peterborough Festival of Antiques is on September 29-30 at the East of England Showground.