Fairs Market United Kingdom

A fair with a personal touch

Art Antiques London is the choice event for those who like handling works of art

Ask the Silver Fund for their Puiforcat vegetable dish with cover made in Mexico with onyx handle

The unique selling point of Art Antiques London in June is its origin in the International Ceramics Fair & Seminar, an invention in 1982 of the organisers Brian and Anna Haughton, themselves dealers in ceramics. It has continued to attract specialist dealers and world-class scholars in ceramics, who present their latest discoveries at the lecture programme. Now the fair has widened its scope to include the other art forms, but the scholars still come to talk and buy; this year, they included the historian Philip Mansel and curators from, among others, the Bavarian National Museum, the State Hermitage Museum and the Cleveland Museum of Art. The French Porcelain Society held its annual general meeting at the fair.

Like the Old Master drawings fair in Paris, but unlike most other fairs today, this is an encounter between people who really want to talk art and handle objects knowledgeably. When asked why they showed here as well as at the bigger London fair in June, Masterpiece, a representative of the Silver Fund said: “The Haughtons have an outstanding database of collectors, who come here really to buy. There is no hype; there are no crowds [which allows some dealers even to risk open display of highly portable pieces]; the location is great, just by the Albert Memorial and in one of the most expensive parts of town. We also do the Haughtons' fair in New York, at which we know they are already promoting this fair. We have items here from £550 up to £80,000 and have sold well.”

A version of this article will appear in our July-August print edition

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