From July 23-25, an event dedicated to countryside pursuits such as shooting, falconry and gamekeeping also hosted a LAPADA pavilion for the first time.
This partnership with The Game Fair staged at Ragley Hall, Warwickshire, was a welcome addition to the sparse calendar of higher quality antiques fairs over the past 18 months, with most dealers attending this event as their first in-person opportunity since March 2020.
Would the regular affluent visitors take the time to browse and buy from the 22 LAPADA members who had decided to stall out there?
They were housed in not one but two large tents which some of the dealers felt diluted the impact of the group’s presence. However, the weather for the weekend was glorious and the event attracted more than 100,000 visitors in total which provided an opportunity for the antiques sellers to extend their clientele.
On a theme
The dealers had wisely prepared for the fair by ensuring their stands catered to the event’s theme. Blackbrook Gallery, for example, filled its stand with paintings of game animals while Langfords enticed customers to buy a silver gun modelled from their personal collection.
Other stands showcased exquisite pieces of furniture, such as WR Harvey, Alexander George and Christopher Clarke, with the idea that they would fit perfectly into a countryside home.
As can happen with a new venture, a few teething issues arose.
Dealers noted unreliable Wi-Fi and a lack of prominent signage while some said they would have welcomed greater publicity in advance. There was also an attempted burglary on the Saturday night, though nothing was taken.
The two tents were positioned slightly awkwardly off the beaten track of the main pathway of the event, which did reduce the potential footfall and, some dealers believed, sales.
LAPADA is aware of these concerns and is planning to implement a larger and more secure facility closer to the VIP enclosures and central arena at the next edition to be held on July 29-31, 2022.
The GWCT Scottish Game Fair at Scone Palace in Perth on September 24-26 this year will be the next event on a similar scale and theme, where Glasgow auction house McTear’s has a stand.
By Rachel Fellman