New clients, including buyers from the United States, Israel and China, boosted business at the BADA Antiques & Fine Art Fair, the only internationally renowned event exclusive to members of the British Antique Dealers’ Association, which finished in London yesterday (Tues).
Dealers reported strong sales across a wide range of disciplines with clocks, watercolours, folk furniture and modern design pieces performing particularly well. Several exhibitors sold pieces for six figure sums including Thomas Coulborn & Sons of Sutton Coldfield whose pair of Regency ormolu mounted Blue John campana form urns was bought by an international collector new to them.
The urns, made c1810-20 from rare stone found only in Derbyshire, featured on the cover of the BADA Annual Handbook 2013/2014 and had become an emblem of this year’s Fair. Jonathan Coulborn said: “We have had our best BADA Fair ever.”
Godson & Coles of London sold an English burr maple bureau cabinet c1720 to a UK buyer for a six figure sum while the Willow Gallery from London sold a picture by “a well-known Victorian painter” in the same price range to a British collector. Alick Forrester, a partner in the Willow Gallery, said: “It is the first time that we have sold on the first day of the Fair. There have been some very good people coming in.”
Pictured above: A pair of Regency ormolu mounted Blue John campana form urns – sold to an international collector by Thomas Coulborn & Sons at the BADA Antiques & Fine Art Fair
Clocks are a traditional strength of the BADA Fair and several exhibitors had good sales. Anthony Woodburn of Lewes sold half a dozen table clocks, including pieces by Benjamin Vulliamy and John Ellicott, to UK buyers for prices between £50,000 and £100,000. “It’s been a really good Fair,” he said.
An American private collector who flew over to the Fair bought one of two clocks featured in the BADA Handbook by Raffety of London. The exceptional George I blue and gilt chinoiserie lacquer longcase clock by James Markwick of London c1720 sold for a price in the region of £80,000. Montpellier Clocks of Cheltenham sold a Dwerrihouse & Bell longcase clock, made in London c1800, with a rare pendulum to a UK buyer for “a substantial five figure sum”.
Watercolours sold well at the Fair, probably helped by the fact that the loan exhibition of 18th century works by the English watercolourist William Payne had attracted many people interested in this field. Two exhibitors sold works by Payne. John Spink of London, who curated the loan exhibition, sold an early Payne entitled Man Driving a Donkey near Plymouth to a UK private collector for a price around £7,000 while Guy Peppiatt Fine Art of London sold Payne’s View of Oxton House from the South East, which had an asking price of £3,500.
Half a dozen watercolours from Julia Korner Fine Art of London’s exhibition Travels in Italy sold, including The Old Bridge, Verona by William Callow, which had an asking price of £5,500. Among other picture dealers who had a good Fair were Walker Galleries of Harrogate who sold eight paintings in the first few days. These included The Dressing Room by Dame Laura Knight, which went to a UK private collector for a five-figure sum, and Dutch Shipping in a Calm by the 19th century artist Abraham Hulk Senior, which was bought by an American private collector for a price in the region of £10,000.
An unusual painting of a group of Belgians listening illegally to BBC Radio during the wartime Nazi occupation of their country was sold by John Bennett Fine Paintings of London. Ici… Londres by José Storie, which had an asking price of £13,000, was bought by a collector from Somerset who came up to the Fair after having seen the story of the picture in press publicity.
Haynes Fine Art of Broadway, Worcestershire sold nine paintings for prices above £20,000. Primitive folk furniture performed particularly strongly at the Fair. Wakelin & Linfield of Billingshurst, West Sussex sold one of their best pieces, a Carmarthenshire chair made from ash c1760, to a UK collector. This important example of Welsh folk art fetched a five-figure sum. A new client from Israel purchased an 18th century table and eight primitive Windsor chairs, also for a five-figure price. Helen Linfield said: “We are delighted with the clients that have come in. We have met 15 new clients, which is really good. Primitive, vernacular furniture that is so easy to live with is very popular.”
Early English furniture on the stand of Shaw Edwards Antiques of Hatherleigh, Devon, also sold well. Two 15thcentury oak roof bosses depicting the Virgin Mary as the Queen of Heaven and a bearded man possibly Jesus or God the Father sold for a five figure sum on the first day of the Fair. Eight oak carvings or pairs of carvings were bought by collectors for between £1500 and £5000 each. Modern works of art proved popular with buyers.
Gray Modern and Contemporary Art of Somerset, who were new exhibitors, sold modern portraits and fashion sketches, including some rare original Christian Dior design illustrations. Ashley Gray said: “We have sold to interior designers. It’s a really good crowd here and a great mix of buyers.” Holly Johnson Antiques of Macclesfield, Cheshire sold three pieces on the first day to a UK decorator who she had not met before while a second decorator bought some works by the Italian Piero Fornasetti.
A London-based couple in their 30s purchased a rare c1950 Fornasetti cube table base Viso di Donna for about £8,000. The range of international visitors to the Fair increases year on year. John Robertson from Redhill, Surrey, sold to dealers from Malta and Shanghai, the latter buying English Impressionist watercolours.
Several dealers commented on the increase in the number of Chinese and Russian visitors. Lennox Cato Antiques of Edenbridge, Kent was asked by a woman collector from Texas to reserve a Chinese reverse mirror picture in a carved gilt-wood frame c1760-70, which had an asking price of £35,000. She then flew over to the BADA Fair to look at it and immediately bought it
Patrick Sandberg Antiques of London sold a large Georgian breakfast table to an American private collector for a price in the region of £12,000 and five pairs of bronze and ormolu candlesticks to a Russian buyer.
The competition to choose the Object of the Fair was won by Mackinnon Fine Furniture of London for a rare and highly important Queen Anne gilt gesso dressing table. The independent panel of judges awarded second prize to Strachan Fine Art of London for a 15th century Nottingham alabaster while third place went to Edward Hurst from near Salisbury, Wiltshire for a George III military commemorative clock.
The Gold Award for best stand went to Anthony Woodburn of Lewes, Sussex with Edward Hurst second and Farnham Antique Carpets of Surrey third. Despite freezing cold weather, a queue stretched outside the Fair towards the King’s Road when it opened and there was also a queue to get in on the final day yesterday (Tues).
Total attendance was 17,500. Well-known names who visited the Fair included Princess Michael of Kent, who came twice. On her second visit she was accompanied by Sheikh Hamad bin Abdullah Al Thani of Qatar. The art collector Charles Saatchi came to the Fair as did the former Deputy Prime Minister Lord Heseltine, and Lord Coe, who was Chairman of the London Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games. The singer Petula Clark, the gardening expert Alan Titchmarsh, the children’s author Dame Jacqueline Wilson and the television presenter Dr Christian Jessen also visited the Fair.
The next BADA Antiques & Fine Art Fair will take place from 19 – 25 March 2014.