Remarks such as “we are lucky as our waiting lists are now in the hundreds” (Donny Mann of Love Fairs) and “the only downside to the fair is that we are having to turn exhibitors away” (Philip Crosthwaite, Hingham Antiques Fairs) are commonplace.
Here is a snapshot of a lively 2018. Happy Christmas and a rewarding New Year to fair and market organisers everywhere.
Back in the running
Relaunches kicked off in January with Stephanie Castell and Ben Cooper of Two Cs Antiques Fairs holding the biannual Kensington Ceramics and Glass Fair, formerly the long-running London Ceramics Fair. The event was pulled together in less than a month at Kensington Town Hall in London.
In March, Matthew Adams of Adams Antiques Fairs and Frock Me, relaunched his Brocante and Decorative Living Show at Chelsea Town Hall – which he last held in 2005.
Following the withdrawal of long-term organiser Bowman Antiques Fairs from the Staffordshire Showground, IACF took over this event and ran the first of its renamed Bingley Hall Fairs in June.
At the October Bingley Hall event, IACF fielded 140 stands, reporting that the number of visitors to the fair had doubled since the takeover. Six IACF fairs at this venue are listed for 2019.
New glass fair
Christina and Paul Bishop, who run Specialist Glass Fairs in Knebworth Park and Birmingham, launched a new glass fair in September at the National Trust’s Ickworth House in Suffolk. This was enthusiastically taken up by the glass artist exhibitors, reported the organisers.
In the blood
An organiser who so missed running his antiques fairs started another after an absence of three years. Rodney Weeks of Gemsco Promotions, launched the Three Counties Antiques and Fine Art Fair in Flitwick, Bedfordshire, in September. He said: “For all those of us involved in the antiques world, it gets in your blood – plus being spurred on by dealers with whom I’ve been involved for years.’’
Those were the days
An announcement from Arthur Swallow Fairs in October signalled a change in format in 2019 of the organisers’ antiques and home fairs held at the Lincolnshire Showground. In 2019, instead of six two-day midweek fairs, the organisers will run four one-day midweek Wednesday events, one day ahead of IACF Newark’s Thursday/Friday fairs. The organisers have been able to cut stall prices by reducing overheads.
Ballroom reels to return
The long-awaited relaunch of Halycon Fairs antiques event at the restored Victorian Octagon ballroom in Buxton’s Pavilion Gardens finally took place in October. The venue has been closed since 2015 due to major remedial works.
As ever, we covered plenty of specialist fairs. This year the long-running biannual Antique Scientific Instrument Fair was relaunched by the Scientific instrument Society, whose chairman Charles Miller runs the eponymous specialist auction house in London holding sales of maritime and scientific antiques.
Also new was the dedicated vintage and antique jewellery fair launched this year by Matthew Adams. Other specialisms included a teddy bear festival at Woburn Park, the annual fairs run by the Textile Society and the Tile Society and the Kempton Classic Arms Fair.
In April, Edward Cruttenden of Sunbury Antiques and Kempton Park renown launched a second monthly antiques market. The Sandown Antiques Market at Sandown Park Racecourse runs on the first Tuesday of the month and is sister to the very popular fortnightly antiques market at Kempton Park Racecourse. “A big thumbs-up was the consensus,” said Cruttenden after the launch.
A number of antiques centres opened, including two in Yorkshire. Elsewhere, Ragamuffins Emporium launched in Pontypool and antique dealer Ken Hewitt opened the Manningtree Emporium in Essex. Antiques on High in Oxford is doing so well that owner Vincent Page is opening another Antiques on High in the Devon coastal town of Sidmouth.
IACF is offering ATG readers an exclusive offer of half-price admission to IACF Ardingly for both days of the antiques and collectors’ fair to be held at the South of England Showground on Tuesday and Wednesday, January 15-16. To register for the offer visit the website iacf.co.uk/offers, enter the code ARDNY19 and print off the voucher.