The first Art Antiques London will take place from June 9-16, 2010 in a purpose-built marquee in Kensington Gardens, opposite the Royal Albert Hall, close to the site of the Great Exhibition of 1851.
An event of around 60 dealers is envisaged and it will open with a gala evening preceded by a private preview. There will also be lectures and workshops.
Letters went out to members of the trade on Tuesday, October 6 and initial feedback was good, with interest from a cross section of the trade. Although the organisers will doubtless imbue the event with the known Haughton brand of quality and style, which is mostly high end, the event will not neccessarily be exclusively for the upper end of the trade.
The Haughtons’ major successes have been in New York but they have been considering a major London fair for some years. However, they would never have gone up against Grosvenor House.
Their opportunity came with the end of Grosvenor House this summer, but when a group of Grosvenor regulars announced they would launch a new very upmarket and unashamedly luxury goods fair, Masterpiece, next June, the Haughtons withdrew and waited.
The team behind Masterpiece are friends and colleagues of the couple, but after months passed with no firm announcements from them, the Haughtons went ahead with news of their own launch.
However, within three days of the Haughtons’ letter to the trade there was a reaction from Masterpiece who, as ATG went to press on Friday, rushed out a release saying their event, showcasing the top end of the luxury industry as well as art and antiques, is intended to take place in a marquee at the Chelsea Barracks from June 24-29 next year, with a preview on June 23.
Organisations behind the venture are Mallett, Apter-Fredricks, Ronald Phillips and Asprey, and the event will be organised by Nicola Winwood, formerly of The Grosvenor House Art & Antiques Fair.
But the release did state that Masterpiece “is subject to relevant statutory consent” and a spokesman for the fair told ATG that although detailed discussions are far advanced and all parties want the fair to go ahead, actual planning permission is not yet signed, sealed and delivered.
Further details will be unveiled at an event at Aspreys towards the end of the month.
Meanwhile, another veteran organiser has entered the June fray. Caroline Penman will launch The West London Art & Antiques Fair at Kensington Town Hall, London W8 from June 3-6 next year.
With space for some 80 exhibitors the fair goes head to head with David Lester’s London International Fine Art Fair at Olympia, which runs from June 4-13. Mrs Penman insists a number of her regular exhibitors asked her to launch a June fair as an alternative to Olympia.
A good number of Olympia regulars have considered leaving the venue after Mr Lester’s large hike in stand rents.
Caroline Penman told ATG: “I have taken the decision to launch a summer event designed to meet the needs of those dealers who want to be in London in June but at a more attractive price.”
From just Olympia some months ago, now it looks like there are four fairs in June and it has become a crowded month. Plenty for the dealers to choose from, but surely there is not room for all four?
By David Moss