The Cotswold Art & Antiques Dealers’ Association Fair is a local event with a twist.
Hosting 20 CADA dealers, all members of the regional trade association, plus six invited guest exhibitors, the high-end vetted event staged its latest edition from October 13-16.
It was held for the second time at Compton Verney, a manor house known for its art collection and sprawling grounds in Warwickshire.
Now in its 10th edition, the fair provided good results for dealers offering objects of local interest.
One of the earliest sales, for example, was a Mark Hearld (b.1974) picture, Bantam Cockerel, from the stand of 20th century art specialist Freya Mitton. She brought the piece specifically due to the Contemporary artist’s connection with Compton Verney: he curated the British folk art gallery in the site’s museum just upstairs. Within the first hour of the fair, an existing client snapped up the work as an impulse buy for around £2000.
Another local interest piece was a watercolour, Mill at Guys Cliff, Warwick by Henry W Pearsall (1832- 59), which was sold before the fair opened by Newman Fine Art at an asking price of £680 following pre-fair publicity.
First-time exhibitor Neil Honor of Catesby’s told ATG that he picked this event “as a local fair. It felt important to be part of that community and a good way to dip our toe in the water of fairs.”
By the end of the event, he had made some great sales. One notable customer was a member of the Compton Verney staff who picked up some fig sculptures by Contemporary artist Alice-Andrea Ewing priced at £135 each. It was the first fair for Catesby’s, which opened last year.
Despite what one dealer dubbed “wonderful fair organisation, venue and atmosphere”, many noted a downward trend in customers’ willingness to part with large amounts of money. Some noted that even those clients who would not normally be concerned about spending money are concerned about economic conditions and are being more cautious.
Various participants cited the current political climate and the rising cost-of-living crisis as creating a risk-averse clientele. However, there were a few that remained optimistic that interested visitors would get in contact post-fair to see more of their collections.
Meanwhile, others found that the CADA fair lived up to expectations despite the challenges.
Mark Goodger, who deals in antique boxes and accessories, was among those in high spirits after some new customers turned up early after having found him online. They took a c.1790 blonde tortoiseshell tea chest for £3800.
He has exhibited at every CADA fair and attributes its appeal to “being smaller than other fairs and it’s very antique and traditional here”.
Brian Watson from Brian Watson Antique Glass also had a successful event early on, with over 16 items of glass selling in two hours to five different clients. He said that all of these appeared to be impulse buys and expected many of the customers to become returning clients following positive conversations. This success carried into the second day, with a whole shelf of champagne saucer glasses selling to three different visitors.
David Houlston also had a very positive experience: a rare Charles II ‘Durham’ oak armchair (1670) sold to a private client for a price in excess of £15,000, among other smaller-ticket items.
David Harvey from WR Harvey & Co sold a few large pieces of furniture.
One standout item was a Scottish George II mahogany and crossbanded bow fronted sideboard with marquetry thistle decoration (c. 1785) selling for the asking price of £6250.
Among the guest exhibitors, Callum Jackson of Jackson’s Antique made a name for himself. One of his sales was a 1970s gold plated and wood Jaegar-LeCoultre Atmos Clock and an Ando Company mid-century cloisonne vase, which a couple picked up for £3250 in total after visiting the fair to pick something up from a different dealer.
Jackson said he was thrilled, with all of his sales going to new clients. He remarked that the visitors “are knowledgeable about what they want”.
Other exhibitors at the CADA fair included Mayflower Antiques, Sarah Colegrave and Elizabeth Harvey-Lee.
Set up home together
The CADA fair featured a specially curated stand that displayed exhibitors’ items alongside each other to illustrated how items might look in the home. Included was a Scottish George II mahogany and crossbanded bow-fronted sideboard offered by WR Harvey for £6250.
Also shown here are a carpet from Legge Carpets and a picture from Freya Mitton.