It follows a significant run of events: LAPADA’s return after four years with a new organiser, the British Art Fair’s second run with a new owner, and the third Battersea Decorative fair for the year and its first time sharing a venue with Tribal Art London.
That’s not to mention last week’s PAD London and Frieze Masters.
Olympia runs from October 30 to November 5 in its west London exhibition centre, and it is also at an important moment – the first winter staging to take place since the cancellation of the summer event.
Exhibitors come prepared with a wide range of offerings. Highlights are set to include a chalk drawing by the popular French portraitist Paul-César Helleu (1859-1927), a friend of John Singer Sargent. Depicting Helleu’s wife, the picture is offered by Karen Taylor Fine Art for £25,000.
Jeremy Astfalck of The Old Corkscrew brings a pair of parcel gilt silver candelabra by Stuart Devlin marked for London, 1975, while Peter Bunting offers a c.1640 oak credence table and Grasilver features a 18ct gold watch designed by Vivianna Torun Bulow-Hube for Georg Jensen c.1960.
Willing it on
It is hard to name a fair that the trade bears more good will to than Olympia, though it sometimes comes in the form of happy recollections rather than current support.
In the 1990s the summer edition was probably the largest and most reliable of the London antiques fairs. The winter edition grew out of that successful event.
However, rises in cost and changes in the way dealers do business – many of them looking to sell online post-lockdown more than ever before – proved unsustainable for the fair and the summer edition closed earlier this year.
Part of organiser Clarion’s larger Christmas programming, the winter event lives on. It runs in the gallery above the Spirit of Christmas Fair in the centre’s Grand Hall, the volume of stalls downstairs making costs lower for the antiques dealers than they would be at most comparable London events. Some buyers still make the journey from overseas.
Often, newcomers to the fair venture upstairs from the Christmas event.
There are some logistical changes this year. The fair has previously run in the smaller National Hall. Hours are also slightly longer, too, running usually from 10am-6pm, and there is an extra full day on last year.
Among those standing are Asian art specialist Laura Bordignon, furniture dealer S&S Timms, Jeroen Markies Art Deco and Hickmet Fine Art with Art Deco and Art Nouveau pieces.