Art Nouveau and Art Deco items were in demand with the more than 2000 visitors to The Northern Antiques Fair earlier this month.
Soon after opening on the first day, Solo Antiques sold Tanzerinn, an Art Nouveau female dancer, c.1910, by Gotthils Jäger (1871-1933), to a longstanding client for a four-figure sum.
The bronze was only on show for five minutes. Having been delivered to the fair that morning, given a quick polish and clean, it was immediately sold.
The first day brought good sales for fellow Art Deco and Art Nouveau specialist Hickmet Fine Arts. Six sales were made to existing clients who came especially to the fair.
The Northern Antiques Fair, run by fair director Ingrid Nilson, returned to the Garden Rooms & Cloisters of Tennants auction house in Leyburn, North Yorkshire. Staged on September 29-October 2, it welcomed 2100 visitors.
Previously held in Harrogate, the fair made its debut at the Garden Rooms last year.
So are dealers happy to stall out so close to a large, successful auction house? Judging by this recent event, the answer is a resounding yes.
Graham Magee at Gladwells Rutland said: “There is no need to fear an auction house as a dealer. Tennants are the heart of the local community here, people pop in for lunch and shop in the gift shop. The facilities are lovely and the food is really good so people are happy. Visitors feel relaxed here.
“For Tennants it is something different for their clients to see. It is symbiotic relationship with the auction house and the fair. It is great that Tennants invited their clients, bringing different and new customers for us.”
Tennants created the large purpose built event space on the same site as its saleroom in 2015 and it hosts various events and conferences. Paul Freeman, events and hospitality director of the Garden Rooms and Cloisters, and Tennants’ director Jane Tennant explained how hard the team had worked to ensure the fair ran smoothly.
Tennants does not hold an auction at the same time as the fair and kept previews of upcoming sales to a minimum. With a separate entrance, the Garden Rooms are used throughout the year for events from weddings and lectures to concerts.
Ruth Cope of Granta Fine Art in Cambridge, who exhibits at fairs around the UK including in Chester and Harrogate, said the location in Leyburn meant a different mix of buyers came through the door “from further north such as Durham and the Scottish Borders”.
New clients from Morpeth bought a c.1900 full-length bronze by Emmanuel Villanis (1858-1914) for £7000 from Garret & Hurst Sculpture.
Burlington sold six paintings, priced between £2000-30,000, all to new clients from the Yorkshire and surrounding region.
Jewellery was also a strong seller. Grays Antiques market dealers Ifediba Nwokedi-Greenstein and her husband Saul of S Greenstein enjoyed being in a change of venue.
She said: “This venue really works. We have seen a different clientele – it is a day out for them and they have really enjoyed themselves.”
Catherine Hunt of Antique Oriental Ceramics in Cheltenham, joked: “I am a northern virgin as it were, but I have done a lot of Ingrid’s fairs. They are always well run with a good mix of high-quality great dealers.”
Jim Dickinson of J Dickinson Maps & Prints reported a number of sales including a map of London priced at £600 as well as maps of Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Hertfordshire, Ulster and Munster, Worcestershire, Northumberland, Holy Island & Farne Island, Northamptonshire, County Durham and Derbyshire.
One buyer, new to the fair who had recently moved to North Yorkshire, bought a map of the area for around £45 and two others of Hertfordshire and Lincolnshire as gifts for family for between £100-120 each from Dickinson.
Sylvie Collett sold a French miniature sewing set in a walnut case for £665.
An elderly gentleman bought a Spode bachelor tea pot for £200 from Carolyn Stoddart-Scott. On leaving the fair he got as far as the car park but was so thrilled with his purchase that he came back inside and bought the rest of the set, including six coffee mugs, six saucers and three dishes.
Jane Burgett from Dansk Silver sold four original etching and acquatint on paper by Louis Icart (1888-1950) for £900 each to a couple who sent a photograph the following morning of the paintings already hanging in their bedroom.
Dealer William Cook, who sold a number of items of furniture during the fair, says he was pleased to be back exhibiting in the north of England again after a break where he had been concentrating on US fairs.
He said: “The north of England was a traditional part of my business and it was great to re-establish personal relations and build new ones.”
There were a number of new faces to the event. Brian and June Greenfield of Studiotic were pleased with their debut.
Brian said: “We had a great start to the fair. We are happy as it reinforces our own eclectic taste in early 20th century design when other people are buying into what we have.”
Among its sales were 1920s lithographs, turn of the century Continental Art Nouveau, British Art Nouveau and British Arts & Crafts items.
Fellow first-time exhibitor, handbags and accessories dealer Bags of Glamour, sold well over the weekend including a Lulu Guinness yellow bow bag, a silver and guilloche enamel box, powder compacts and a Mickey Mouse Coach purse.
Silver dealer Highland Antiques, also fresh to the fair, had a good run of sales on the last day, all to new customers, such as a three-piece tea set and tray by Goldsmiths of London, c.1917, in the region of £1200.
Exhibitors at this event deep in Yorkshire came from across the country… even from Lancashire. Bradley Carnes of Carnes Fine Art, who also exhibited last year, brought “strong artist names”.
Also from across the ‘border’ was Ian Walsh of Watches of Lancashire who said: “The fair was one of the best we have attended all year, fantastic items for sale and a great buzz! We managed to see lots of new faces and we will most certainly coming back next year.”
Although the event took place with the backdrop of a worsening economic outlook – dealers noticed a change in client behaviour (more hesitant and choosy, steering away from large purchases) – broadly the exhibitors were pleased with how the event faired.
Nilson added: “Despite general woes on the economic front, our audience was keen to make purchases, and we look forward to the 2023 event with renewed confidence.”
The Northern Antiques Fair returns to The Garden Rooms & Cloisters on September 28-October 1 next year.