United Kingdom

Lapada fair keeps collectors coming to Mayfair

Since organisers set up a marquee in Berkeley Square last year, the popularity of the event amongst the 94 exhibitors has risen exponentially

Visitors examine fine furniture during the preview night of the Lapada Art & Antiques Fair

LONDON. High art rubbed shoulders with collectors’ curiosities at the Lapada Art & Antiques Fair, London (22-26 September). Since the Lapada organisers took the decision to set up a marquee in Berkeley Square last year, having been turfed out of the Royal Academy’s rear galleries by the incursion of Christie’s-owned Haunch of Venison, the popularity of the event amongst the 94 exhibitors has risen exponentially.

“It’s in a different league”, said Alan Hatchwell of Hatchwell Antiques, who was exhibiting “Art Air”, a selection of furnishings recreated from recovered aircraft parts, in which the gallery specialises. “The clients coming in really are la crème”, added Martin MacRodain of Odyssey, who quickly found a buyer for Raoul Dufy’s La Feé Electricité, 1953, a first edition set of ten lithographs (numbered 188/350), at £16,000.

While several dealers commended the healthy number of new clients, attendance figures showed that visitors preferred the location too, with numbers looking set to equal the 13,000 that attended last year, well up on the 8,500 that came to the 2008 edition at the RA. The show is also popular with galleries nearby—last year Modern British dealers Osborne Samuel had major sales as a result of the influx.

Although sales in the Lapada marquee were slow on the opening days—a reflection of the general economy, along with the added gloom of budgetary cuts announced by the new UK Coalition government in an effort to reduce the country’s deficit—money was still being spent. Most sales were under the £40,000 level and smaller ticket items were traded steadily.

Most eye-catching was a superb late 19th-century French wooden articulated artists’ model of a horse and rider, which Belgian dealer Herwig Simons sold to a new international client for about £37,000. Butchoff Antiques found an eastern buyer for a French kingwood centre table in the manner of Linke, priced at £15,000-20,000; meanwhile Ted Few— purveyor of a 19th-century walrus penis bone—sold about 30 objects in the first two days, all within a range of £20 to £5,000.

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