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Celebrating a ‘nation of shopkeepers’, The Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair is hosting a showcase focused on advertising signs and shop fixtures.

Counter Culture – three centuries of Decorative Shop Signs, Fitments and Merchandising Design presents items for sale from exhibitors displayed at the entrance to the fair taking place just south of the Thames in London from January 24-29.

From carved or painted shop advertising signs to fixtures and fittings such as decorated pharmacy jars and display cabinets, the showcase features a range of collectable pieces, many of them in the folk art genre.

Pictorial pointers

The collecting of historic retail antiques ranges from the rarest dating as far back as the Middle Ages when shops and inns needed a pictorial symbol to alert punters (at a time when most people weren’t able to read), through to those in the Georgian and Victorian era when the rise of the merchant and middle classes allowed specialist suppliers to flourish.

Victorian and more recent examples are also popular, both with collectors and interior designers.


The Home Bothy is selling this c.1920 locksmith trade sign from France priced at £790.

Exhibitors who regularly stock items include Dee Zammit (furniture and lighting), David Levi (folk art), DJ Green Antiques (furniture), The Home Bothy (folk art), Hatchwell Antiques (weights and measures, furniture), Christopher-Hall Antiques (furniture) and Interior Boutiques.

The dedicated entrance showcase returns for only the second time post-Covid (the autumn fair was the first time a themed display was reinstated).

Running in Battersea Park, the winter edition of the popular three-times-yearly event (and the first for 2023) features around 120 exhibitors.


This early 20th century English shop display case by S Mawson & Sons is offered for £950 at James Worrall.

New exhibitors for this edition include Jacksons Antique (specialising in decorative and Asian art) and returning after debuting at the autumn fair is Westland London (antique fireplaces, fine furniture and objects), Peter Last (antique frames) and Vistavka Fine Art.

Although shop-related items will be in focus, dealers will be bringing an array of art and antiques from ceramics and glassware, silver and jewellery to furniture, lighting and architectural garden antiques.

The winter event has a particularly strong offering of traditional fine and formal English and Continental furniture, featuring dealers such as Anthony Fell (returning after a break from the event), Hansord Antiques, William Cook, Bedale, John Bird, Leuchars, Pearse Lukies, Peter Bunting, Wakelin & Linfield, Timothy Langston, Vagabond, Foster & Gane, Odyssey Fine Arts, S&S Timms and Richard Steenberg among others.

Double delight

Running alongside the Decorative fair, on the same dates and at the same venue, on its mezzanine level, is the London Antique Rug & Textile Art Fair (LARTA) – see our preview of the event for more details.