Sumptuous gilding, top-quality decoration and elegant 18th century figurines: the various shapes and patterns of Derby Porcelain have attracted buyers and collectors since production started c.1750.
Now, at the Antiques for Everyone Winter: Art Decorative & Interiors fair taking place at NEC Birmingham on November 23-26, examples will be much in evidence for perusal and for purchase.
For existing or novice enthusiasts alike, there is the fair exhibition, Derby Porcelain: Artistry from the 18th century to the present day. Staged by the Derby Porcelain Society, it brings together a number of lesser-known and newly discovered pieces from all three of the Derby factories (The Nottingham Road Works, King Street and Derby Crown Porcelain and Royal Crown Derby).
Most pieces come from private collections and the loan show will be accompanied by a full-colour catalogue.
“The fair is well-known among ceramics collectors and is always very busy,” said John Astle, a representative of the society, adding that it aims to generate interest among visitors.
For dealers offering Derby the fair could be a chance to catch the eye, imagination and wallets of both experienced and first-time buyers.
Among them is Brad Dover of Jupiter Antiques, who points out that one attraction is Derby represents a “fairly constant” part of the porcelain trade.
“Very early pieces are always desirable and prices have been less affected by the ups and downs of the market,” he says. “The same can be said of the Chelsea Derby market.”
He adds that other areas of Derby (reflecting the larger porcelain trade) have been more prone to flux, notably the ‘designer’ pieces made from 1785-1800, which experienced popularity and over-inflation in the 1990s only to crash in the 2000s.
To those deliberating over which pieces to go for, Dover recommends “pre-1790 figures with minimal damage or repair, artist-attributable porcelain of the 1780s-1800s and signed Royal Crown Derby in good condition”.
Such and similar pieces will be on offer from the stands of dealers including Robert Hawker Antique Pottery and Porcelain, Turner Labelle Antiques, Bottlebrook Antiques, Philip Carrol Antiques and Julian Eade.
More than 200 dealers
The winter fair is the final event for AfE’s 32nd year and is set to host more than 200 dealers offering a range of furniture, clocks, art, jewellery, glass and more.
After what director Mary Claire Boyd dubs a “very successful summer fair” in July, this edition is pitched to draw in Christmas shoppers as well as the perennial decorative buyers and collectors.
Among returning exhibitors are vintage jewellery specialist Thomas Glover, Amherst Antiques bringing Tunbridge Ware and Aquila Fine Art.
New dealers include The Clock Clinic, Precious Flora offering floral vintage and antique jewellery, Gallery Yacou, with an assortment of antique, decorative and contemporary pieces, and Kintsugi Wabi Sabi, which specialises in Kintsugi pottery.