The event, which runs at the west London exhibition centre from November 1-6, represents Stanley’s first outing at a fair. It is also likely to be his last since he has no ambitions to become a full-time dealer. Rather, he is keen to find a new home for a collection 40 years in the making.
Dating from 1600-1800s (the majority are from the 19th century), the paintings in his collection have no relationship to the instruments he specialises in at his Leicestershire saleroom. Most pictures depict single subjects with an emphasis on children and animals. All are by named artists.
In awe of artists
“I’m in awe of people who can paint and draw like photographs. I’m intrigued by how skilful they are”, Stanley tells ATG. “I’ve averaged about one a year for the past 40 years and I’ve had them in a couple of rooms and enjoyed looking at them.”
Now in his 80s, he has decided it’s time to part with the pictures.
“Hopefully they’ll do better at a fair than at auction”, he adds. “It’s a bit of fun really, even if I don’t sell any.” He predicts that he will sell around a third and any that do remain are likely to be consigned.
Choosing a fair was easy. “It’s the best fair in England, I would guess”, Stanley says.
Although not to the scale it once was, many agree.
Long-term exhibitor Robbie Timms of S&S Timms said: “I am very much looking forward to once again exhibiting at what is in my opinion the best-value for money fair in London, with the bonus of it being so long established.
“It appears that the fairs landscape may change dramatically over the next few years with some of the most prestigious ‘events in tents’ now simply unviable from a financial perspective for your average middle market furniture dealer. However, Winter Olympia is always an enjoyable, profitable event to exhibit at.
Sometimes we don’t know what we have got until it’s gone.”
He brings an unusually large military campaign trunk, c.1850, which measures 5ft 6in (1.68m) wide. Made in camphor wood with a fabric lined interior, it features its original brass bound decoration and flush fitted handles and is offered for £4500.
Elsewhere at the event, stalwart exhibitor Mary Cooke Antiques offers a pair of George III wine coolers made in London, 1807, by William Frisbee. These are offered for £54,500 in their original case. The price includes a framed watercolour portrait of the coolers’ first owner, Thomas Smith (1746- 1823), depicted as Lord Mayor of London in 1809.
The fair experienced a late surge in exhibitor numbers. A second date for the Chelsea Antiques Fair was earmarked to coincide exactly with the larger event but ended up being postponed due to insufficient exhibitor numbers. It has now been cancelled.
Several dealers who planned to stand at Chelsea took late spots at Olympia. Among them were Andrew Muir and James Miles, Kaye Michie Fine Art, Timewise Vintage Watches, Philip Carroll, Mark Goodger, John Robertson and T Robert. Olympia will accept tickets that Chelsea dealers distributed to their clients.