A trio of antiques fairs taking place in Suffolk over the August bank holiday weekend are sure to attract the crowds.
Lomax Fairs’ Southwold event from Friday to Sunday, August 26-28, is the last one to be organised by John Harbottle, after which the art dealer is retiring to Scotland. He will be handing over Lomax to a regular exhibitor, country furniture dealer Anthony Keer.
The biannual antiques fairs are held in spring and summer at St Felix School in the ever-popular Suffolk seaside town.
This high-end datelined, stand-fitted event is now the sole fair in the Lomax Fairs’ portfolio which at one time included Holkham Hall in Norfolk and Hinchingbrooke House, near Cambridge.
Harbottle took over the Southwold fair’s organisation in 2006 from Norfolk dealer Liz Allport-Lomax who founded it 30 years ago. The event draws in visitors up from London or second homeowners in the town who walk the school’s corridors to the main hall where 35 premium dealers will be setting out their stalls later this month.
Down by the river
Black Dog Events’ brocante on Sunday, August 28, is held at the Grade I-listed Woolverstone Hall, near Ipswich, a school and weddings and events venue.
Organiser Kate Button is expecting around 70-plus exhibitors who will be setting out their stands on the lawns that slope down to the River Orwell.
A couple of dealers to look out for here are Jo Dove of The Gilded Dove with decorative pieces, including a 19th century silk fan handpainted with apple blossom flowers at £125, and local Catherine Newton, who runs the vintage fashion shop Portobello East Coast in Halesworth.
Black Dog Events now covers brocantes and antiques markets at five country locations in Suffolk.
Talking about the spread of interest in these and future plans, Button said: “We now attract more dealers from further afield as our fairs’ reputation has grown. So we are launching Antiques in the Park at the Suffolk Showground on Sunday, September 11.
“We’re also running another event at the showground in October: a two-day indoor show called Antiques and Artisans. If these both work we’ll add more dates for 2023.”
It all started when Kate and husband Mike, antiques dealers in Halesworth, launched a brocante in the old printworks in 2016.
Make a statement
“Our footfall is now back up to pre-Covid numbers and people are spending”, said Laure Bonner, co-organiser of the Long Melford Antiques and Vintage Fair, a monthly fixture in the village’s Old School since 2014. The next is on Saturday and Sunday, August 27-28.
Bonner added: “People come to Long Melford on holiday and for days out when people spend differently. We’re expecting a good show again in August.”
Asked about buying trends, she said: “Decorative items, something that makes a statement.”