Chelsea Antiques fair
A former edition of the Chelsea Antiques Fair.

Caroline Penman, who has run the venerable event at the Chelsea Old Town Hall since the early 1980s, had recently been looking to sell the event.

She has now agreed a deal with founders Steve Sly, Charles Wallrock (both dealers) and marketing specialist Zara Rowe.

The sale was for an undisclosed fee and while coronavirus restrictions remain in place there is no confirmed date for the first fair under new ownership. However, an autumn date for 2021 is planned.

Sly, Wallrock and Rowe created in 2019 as a platform for dealers to sell online.

Sly said: “With the continued threat of Covid on our minds we strongly feel the market will relish smaller boutique events such as the historic Chelsea Antiques Fair. It is a time to return the fair to its former glory years.”

The fair would normally run in March but last year’s edition was cancelled due to the virus.

The autumn event will host around 30 dealers, initially inviting 2Covet members and former Chelsea exhibitors, across a seven-day event. A new website will also be launched.

Penman has been organising antiques fairs since 1967, running them in 48 venues and launching the Ardingly and Shepton Mallet showground fairs (now run by IACF). In 2019 she stepped down from running four annual events.

Caroline Penman

Caroline Penman.

Established in 1950, the Chelsea Antiques Fair took place as a 12-day event for the first 50 years of its life and Penman had run it since 1983/4, organising 65 fairs during her tenure.

She said: “I am delighted to be able to hand over the fair to such a dynamic and suitable company – I have every confidence that the old traditions and standards of Chelsea will be upheld and enhanced by the 2Covet team.”

Exhibitors and attendees can register their interest here