Robin Butler on Twitter

June 2010

About 10 months ago we heard that Marriott Hotels were 'axing' the doyen of all antiques fairs - the Grosvenor House Fair, which had been running since 1934.  At first there was much dismay as it had been the premier antiques fair internationally, although Maastricht and the Paris Biennale had probably taken over that title in recent years.  Nevertheless there were long faces among exhibitors, as most felt that the only other large London Summer Fair - at Olympia - could never take on the mantle; the venue simply does not begin to have the feel of luxury, opulence, pzazz, or whatever you like to call it.

In fact, the running of the Summer Olympia Fair has been taken over by an American who has said that he wants to up-grade it.  However there are many who say that Hammersmith could never deliver what Mayfair had done for so many years.  Furthermore, many long-standing, and some excellent, exhibitors at Olympia in previous years, have pulled out because they do not like the new co-owner of the fair who has hiked the stand costs considerably.  At a stroke, he has eliminated many good dealers  who are not sufficiently capitalised to bear the extra costs, and his well-known style has 'ruffled the feathers' of others.  On paper, it looks as if Olympia may not 'cut the mustard', but time will tell.  It runs from the June 4th - 15th.

London was in need of a really top-notch summer fair, and it was not long before an experienced organiser opened the bidding with a Fair to be held in a pavillion in Hyde Park, opposite the Albert Hall. Called Art Antiques London, it incorporates the long-established Ceramics Fair, but it also has a good measure of dealers in silver, furniture, pictures, and the usual gamut of etceteras.  Those taking part include some dealers who were Grosvenor House exhibitors. There is no doubt it will be an excellent fair and can be visited between June 9th - 16th.

After quite an interval, waiting for planning permission, and putting their pitch together, some very high-end dealers declared a totally new Fair.  They are holding 'Masterpiece' at the former Chelsea Barracks site, and they are bringing some fresh thinking to the whole concept of what a fair with antiques should be about.  In addition to antiques, there will be classic cars, fine wines and contemporary art as well as other examples of luxury living.  It promises much and the website looks extremely tempting.  We hope to have a few items on loan to an exhibitor, but we await developments.  The show runs from June 24th - 29th - a convenient interval after the others.

If all that were not enough, there are other shows and fairs running more or less concurrently, as well as numerous in-house exhibitions at antique and art dealers' shops and galleries all around London's 'West End'.

London will certainly be the place to be in June - but then it always was!

Return to newsletters list