The Treasure House Fair

The Treasure House Fair in June 2023.

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Allen is The Winter Show’s executive director and will continue in this role alongside her new post at the London fair.

She will oversee the expansion of the Royal Hospital Chelsea event’s exhibitor base and activities, with a focus on enhancing the fair's presence in North America. She will also oversee partnership and sponsorship activities, working with co-founders Harry Van der Hoorn (co-founder and owner) and Thomas Woodham-Smith (co-founder and director).

Allen began discussions with Van der Hoorn in early March and, after meetings at TEFAF Maastricht with both Van der Hoorn and Woodham-Smith and the agreement of the board of The Winter Show, she joined the team.

Allen said: “The idea was to build a bridge between these two independent fairs and grow international connections. It was the perfect opportunity for both shows. Building this bridge enables both shows to have a year-round presence as they are six months apart.”

Helen Allen

Helen Allen joins The Treasure House Fair team. Image: Olga Minrova.

She said at this stage, three months ahead of the next event, her work will be creating the solid ground work for the 2024 event while building toward 2025.

Allen added: “I will be expanding and helping to grow The Treasure House Fair’s visibility in US and European markets. And exploring all the ways we can build on that. From direct outreach with cultural institutions, museum contacts and private member groups to approaching US dealers to visit the fair to think about it for the future.”

With the global expansion of the larger fair organisers including Frieze and Art Basel’s parent company MCH Group, Allen believes it is important for the independent organisers and shows to collaborate to build the overall market and discuss how to help each other.

Increased size

The inaugural The Treasure House Fair took place last summer and the next event, scheduled for June 26-July 2, features 70 exhibitors (up around 30% on last year) and takes place across 32,300 sq ft (3000 sq m) of exhibition space (also an increase of 30%).

Allen has many years’ experience in art events, having run The Winter Show (the longest consecutively running art and antiques show in the world) for the past six years, as well as with Ramsay Fairs, where she was executive director for nine years. She also previously worked at Christie’s in both Rome and New York, at The Metropolitan Museum, and was associate professor at Sotheby’s Institute of Art for five years.

Woodham-Smith said: “Helen brings with her not only significant expertise of the global art market but an unimpeachable knowledge of fair management. With Helen joining us we hope to build a strong and fruitful relationship between two leading international shows to the benefit of not only dealers and exhibitors but also our clients and visitors.”

Read more about the upcoming second edition of The Treasure House Fair in Antiques Trade Gazette No 2634.