Branching Out Antiques is offering an early 20th century French pigeon fanciers’ litho-printed diploma priced at £225. Presented by the Society of Pigeon Fanciers founded in 1880, and presented as the prize in a competition at Moulins in southern France in 1910, it has handwritten signatures by the society’s luminaries including the president.

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Sometimes it’s good to take a break. The French art and antiques trade famously is unavailable for most of August. In the UK it can also be a time to recharge the batteries – as Matthew Adams is well aware.

He launched Adams Antiques Fairs in 1984 and the event is the longest-running monthly fair in London, with the next coming up on Sunday, September 10, however, after sitting out August.

“I think the two-month gap between the July and September fairs – we never have a fair in August – generates a good head of steam with people raring to get buying and selling again, so fingers crossed that this heralds the beginning of a sustained busy season”, said Adams.

Familiar venue

The venue is also long-standing and a favourite with dealers: the Royal Horticultural Halls, known as The Horti, in Victoria.

Adams added: “In theory the fair will be completely full with 133 exhibitors if the dozen or so regulars who have booked but not yet paid do take their space, as they have asked to be able to do.

“Even if they cancel I have a waiting list for this upcoming fair so I should be able to fill all the slots.”

Good business

Sophie Norton has been exhibiting at the Horti for the past year and is also a regular at IACF Ardingly.

She owns Branching Out Antiques, a decoratives antiques business in Whitstable in Kent which is now open by appointment, although she also sells online.

Norton has been an antiques dealer for more than 25 years, when she started selling silver, and launched her business in Kent over 20 years ago.

“I like to buy unusual things”, she said. “I purchase from auctions and fairs and quite a lot of French pieces and whatever draws my attention. Business is very good, particularly with local home owners and the design trade.”