Welcome to the ‘Always Up To Date: London Art Fair Guide‘. We will keep this guide updated throughout the year with new events and changes.Read more
I envy the team at Battersea Evolution, the exhibition space in Battersea park, because so many of the great events in the London arts calendar are held there! Among my favourites are Affordable Art Fair and The Decorative Antiques and Textiles Fair. I was lucky enough to spend the afternoon at the autumn edition of the Decorative Fair yesterday and enjoyed the many delights that the well over 100 exhibitors had to offer.
Although each exhibitor has their own way of displaying their (often vast) array of items, the main theme for exhibitors seemed to be putting together stand displays that displayed antiques, art and textiles in a way that might reflect a collector’s house, or at least a room! From gilt mirrors and French sofas to English military travelling chests, each stand had experts on hand to tell us about their own particular areas of expertise. The joy of wandering around the Decorative Fair is that there is a huge variety in the background to the dealers, ranging from the hugely experienced to very enthusiastic young dealers eager to share their enthusiasm – and knowledge – with visitors. The information given about some of the pieces, together with the atmosphere at the fair, means it often feels like you are being treated to personal tours of small and intimate museums… rather than sales pitches!
A number of the exhibitors at the Decorative Fair are members of LAPADA, and a small and dedicated number had just been exhibiting at the LAPADA Art &Antiques Fair in Berkeley Square just last week! The exhibitors were collected from far and wide, with all the corners of the UK represented, from York to Hertfordshire, Fife to Norfolk side by side with some international dealers from Europe.
The Decorative Antiques and Textiles Fair is at Battersea three times a year, winter, summer and autumn and 2015 marks their 30th anniversary year, an achievement to really cherish as the result of their years of hosting these dealers at Battersea have made a thoroughly enjoyable and successful event.
The next event at Battersea Evolution I am excited to get to is Affordable Art Fair which takes place 23rd – 26th October which promises to be another very successful event for Battersea!
LAPADA Art & Antiques Fair returned to Berkeley Square last week with a display of glittering jewellery and outstanding art. With dealers from far afield to some from just round the corner taking part, the range of items was, as always, vast and exquisite.
Whether it is a coincidence, or possibly I try to look for them, but there always seems to be one or two strong trends that stand out at every fair, and antiques fairs are no exception. For me this year, LAPADA Art & Antiques Fair provided one such trend, and a supremely beautiful set of items. Wedgwood is a household name in fine porcelain and the more famous, and possibly most iconic, Jasperware. However, not a piece of blue and white Wedgwood was on display, but there was plenty of the very distinctive and recognisable ‘Fairyland Lustre’ series produced by the company starting in 1916 and production lasted until the early 1930s.
Fairyland Lustre was the product of two things, the advancements in the techniques of glazes being trialed by Wedgwood and the addition to the company of Susannah Margaretta “Daisy” Makeig-Jones. The contribution of Makeig-Jones is not only a landmark for Wedgwood for the production of her Fairyland Lustre products, but her very status as a senior designer and a woman would have been quite out of the ordinary at a time when the suffragette movement was campaigning for rights for women.
Pieces from the Fairyland Lustre series come in a range of shapes, and sizes and occasionally produced on new shapes commissioned especially for this series. They are distinctive for their use of lustre and gilding and their imaginative and highly creative use of myths and stories from a range of cultures to decorate these pieces. One such piece is “Ghostly Wood”, which is a jar and cover made from bone china painted in brown with underglaze and lustre and gilt. The narrative on this piece is inspired by The Legend of Croquemitaine by Gustave Doré – a story of the French Emperor Charlemagne which involved ghosts, fairies and other fantastical creatures.
Although this series of works were extremely popular, and in many way revived Wedgwood which was struggling in the early 1900s, the economic downturn in the USA following the Wall Street Crash in 1929 put an end to the exuberant spending on these luxury items. Makeig-Jones was asked to leave Wedgwood in 1930 but refused to do so, and decided leave on her own accord shortly afterwards. Feeling betrayed as a member of the family (Doris Audrey Wedgwood married her brother, Thomas Makeig-Jones) Makeig-Jones left in a display of artistic temperament smashing her pots as she left.
Pieces of Makeig-Jone’s Fairyland Lustre can be seen, if you missed seeing them at LAPADA Art & Antiques Fair, in the collection of many museums around the world, and indeed right here in London. The piece, above, is also in the collection of the V&A museum – museum number C.70A-1988.
LAPADA Art & Antiques Fair may have finished at its home in Berkely Square for 2014, however the members of LAPADA can be found all around London and throughout the UK, and details of where to find dealers can be found here.