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FOR some time, dealers Marcus and Franca Potts have been under pressure from would-be exhibitors at their Antiques at the Holt biannual antiques and collectors’ fair to increase the space available for stands.

But help is at hand regarding the event at the Holt Hotel in the village of Steeple Aston, near Oxford.

“We’ve regularly had more demand from dealers hoping to stand at the fair than we have space available, and we have now been offered an extra room which will give us an extra seven pitches,” said Marcus.

“We have a high percentage of return bookings and this March we have two dealers standing with us who have been on the waiting list for two years.”

Marcus added: “We are very gratified by the number of dealers who consistently tell us that ‘they are keeping back something special for the Holt’ and that is reflected in the visitors the fair attracts and the generous amount they spend.”

At last November’s Antiques at the Holt, one dealer who had an excellent fair was the Art Deco specialist Mark Ditchburn.

He will be returning to the 50-exhibitor event on Saturday and Sunday, March 18-19, with ceramics and bronzes.

Among the eight newcomers to the fair are Tina and Peter Morgan with prints and posters from the opening decades of the 20th century and Diana Turner with treen and early ceramics.

The event was launched in 2013 to fill a gap in the local fairs market, with Potts saying at the time: “We identified the need for an affordable, accessible weekend fair to serve the north Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and east Cotswolds area.”

Ghost-hunters might be interested to know that the Holt Hotel is allegedly full of ghostly manifestations, including heavy footsteps and voices in the attic.

But the most unquiet spirit apparently roaming the corridors is that of 17th century highwayman Claude Duval, described by a contemporary as “an eternal feather in the cap of highway gentility” – a glowing reference which didn’t save him from being hanged at Tyburn aged 27.

antiques-at-the-holt.co.uk