Florence Evans Fine Art.

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The next Decorative Antiques and Textiles Fair serves as the soft launch for dealership Florence Evans Fine Art, a new firm specialising in 20th century British art.

Evans started trading independently at the end of last year and the fair, which runs from May 9-14 at Battersea Evolution, coincides with the debut of her website.

The business may be new, but the dealer will be familiar to many. She previously worked at Christie’s, The Weiss Gallery and most recently The Fine Art Society (FAS) in London, where she was director.

For her first fair outing she focuses on women artists of interwar Britain, featuring names such as Veronica Burleigh, Ethel Gabain and Enid Marx. It’s a fitting theme for the Decorative fair, she reflects, which is devoted to decorating that traditionally ‘feminine’ domain, the home.


Among the works brought by Florence Evans is this landscape, c.1930s, by Ethel Gabain, which has an asking price of £3000.

“It’s time to stop feeling snobby about the home as a place for art”, she says. “Where does the instinct to collect art come from? It’s a nesting instinct I would argue, and these days we spend so much time in our homes that we want them to be beautiful.”

Solo dealing has always been a goal.

“I’ve been wanting to do it ever since I was working for Mark Weiss”, Evans says. “He gave me some of the best advice: ‘Forget your pension, darling. Start buying paintings and that will be the way to feather your nest later on.’”

So she did, starting out with second and third tier modern British artists and doing a “gentle” trade in those pictures while working at Weiss’ Old Masters gallery. She paused while working for FAS, but as ways of doing business changed during the pandemic, the path towards independent work became clearer.

Since then, she has built a base of clients and stock and has more than 100 works to offer.

For many, the dream of solo trading is accompanied by a vision of a shop front, and it was the same for Evans.

“In a nebulous way I thought I would have a gallery, the same way that as a child you think you will drive a car. But here I am, I don’t have a car and I don’t have a gallery. I cycle everywhere, I can trade online and at fairs and be an eco-warrior while I do it”, she says.

Already familiar with Battersea as a visitor, Evans was attracted to stand by positive reports from existing exhibitors as well as her clients.

Among those encouraging her to stand were regular exhibitors Tom Rooth, David Levi and David Brooker. Then there was the support of the Battersea team, which she says was keen to see both a newcomer and a female dealer making a debut at the event.


New exhibitor Loveday Antiques brings this French cast iron garden fountain, c.1880, surmounted by a putto holding a fish. Signed A Durenne, Sommevoir, it stands 2.4m high and is available for £28,000.

She joins around 130 exhibitors at the spring event. Among this number are several other newcomers, Anthony James & Son, Holtby & Co, John Robertson Fine Paintings, Loveday Antiques, Sam Kohn Fine Living, Cal Smith Gallery and Disquarded.

Typically, the spring event is a celebration of the warmer months, with a strong offering of garden antiques.

This year it comes hot on the heels of the coronation. Organisers expect to welcome international travellers to the event, and they have included additional tourist marketing to their usual publicity campaign. A room-set arrangement of Carolean furniture styled with later items will take pride of place in the entrance display.


2. Offered for £3800 is this Japanese wood study of a pair of hares naturalistically carved, one seated and the other standing. They were carved by Hirotsugu in 1951, the Zodiac year of the hare, and will be on the stand of Laura Bordignon.

Exhibitors returning after time away from the fair include Hickmet Fine Arts, Laura Bordignon Japanese Works of Art, Chelsea Vintage Couture and Brian Watson Antique Glass. Also showing are Anthea AG Antiques, Peter Bunting, M&D Moir and Dorian Caffot de Fawes.


Peter Bunting brings this small north Wales oak dresser, c1700, which is offered for £4850.