It is a feature of the event that buyers are free to walk out with their new purchases or to have them delivered outside of fair hours. The first of three editions this year, which ran from January 23-28, was no exception.
Decorative fair stalwart Patrick Macintosh of Nadin & Macintosh enjoyed a particularly fruitful early run, seeing his stand sell out on opening day. Among the pieces snapped up were a c.1790 English chest of drawers ticketed at £5900 and a c.1900 Adam-designed mirror offered for £1500. He headed back to Dorset to restock for what was, for him and partner Richard Nadin, a stand-out week at the event.
“The possibilities could be enormous as I met clients with large country houses needing a lot of furniture,” said Guy Dennler, another specialist in traditional antiques at the fair.
His sales, predominantly to new, young private clients, included a bow-front George III side table ticketed at £5850, a serpentine George III chest of drawers offered for £3500 and a good George III mahogany sofa table with an asking price of £6850.
Elsewhere, dealers including Lee Wright Antiques & Interiors, Nick Jones and Odyssey Fine Arts reported their best-ever fairs.
The ever-popular opening day remained strong, and several wished that the crowds that poured through the doors then heralded continued footfall. January is a busy month for fair particularly around London with those staged by ADFL and Clarion Events coming shortly before the Battersea fair. Some dealers who had attended one or two were feeling the beginnings of ‘fair fatigue’.
But good results reported from a number of quarters belie the idea that there was any flaw with the event itself. Aladtair Drennan sold an 18th century mahogany English writing desk with its original leather top ticketed at £13,000; Odyssey Fine Arts sold a rare wall-sied Georgian map of London priced well into the five figures; and John Bird found a new home for an ornate pair of 18th century Italian hall seats, ticketed at £3900, among other highlights.
“Overall, the majority of dealers had a good week with solid business being done every day,” said Darren Hudson who organises the fair alongside Jane Juran.
Among those attending the event were decorators Rose Uniacke, Emma Sims Hilditch and Anouska Hempe, trade buyers Carlton Hobbs and Obsolete of LA. Eddie Redmayne, Claudia Schiffer, Griff Rhys Jones and the Peruvian Ambassador to London were among the other notable attendees.
Still, with 150 dealers in attendance, achieving universal satisfaction is a difficult task. Several dealers noted that the weekend was unusually quiet. In certain cases, sales slowed especially towards the tail end of the event.
On the other hand, for exhibitor Alston & Ashton, weekend visitors became buyers when they called the following Monday, and throughout the event new buyers were reported.
The venue, Battersea Evolution, simultaneously held The London Antique Rug & Textile Art Fair for the second January in a row. It is organised by Aaron Nejad, who reported that the event attracted a high level of international business. Items sold with asking prices up to around £35,000.
Nejad said that in 2018 LARTA “was better attended and with equally good sales as at our first 2017 iteration here at Battersea. Exhibitors paid even greater attention to the presentation of their stands and we have a waiting list of potential future participants.”
LARTA 2019 is set to take place from January 22-27. The next Decorative Antiques and Textiles Fair runs from April 17-22.