Skelton, who also stands at IACF Newark and B2B’s antiques and collectors’ fairs at Malvern, said: “I have attended every one of the festivals and for me nothing compares to it in size and popularity.”
Similar to Jaguar Fairs’ biannual Antiques in the Park at Kedleston Hall in Derbyshire, the 2000-standholder festival of antiques at the East of England Showground benefits from being held only twice a year and attracts exhibitors who solely stand at this fair and save up stock for it.
“The trade like it as they see dealers that they might not otherwise – we also have plenty of exhibitors from Europe,” said festival manager Kris Hart.
Based in East Anglia, Skelton’s interest in Mason’s Ironstone pottery began 20 years ago when she was given a plate as a gift. She turned a hobby into a business in which she deals online, offering pieces in 20 categories, as well as standing at fairs.
Ironstone is a type of strong earthenware which was patented by the Staffordshire company founded by Charles Mason in 1813. The transfer-decorated ware, particularly tableware, was produced by Mason’s in multi-colourways and patterns, many with Japanese-inspired designs.
Skelton’s best-value purchase was a few years ago when she saw an 1890s Mason’s Ironstone lamp in an antiques shop.
“I didn’t have my reading glasses on and thought the label said £300, which I would have gladly paid. When I asked the shop’s owner how much of a discount there might be, she said £2 was the best she could offer and I could have the lamp for £28. I paid up: the lamp was worth £695.”
The autumn Peterborough Festival of Antiques, which has 2000-plus exhibitor bookings at the time of writing, takes place on Friday and Saturday, September 29-30.