THE formula for a fair, at its most basic, is straightforward: a group of exhibitors gather under one roof, offering buyers the chance to visit their favourite dealers and discover new ones all in a short time.
In recent years particularly it’s been a highly successful model, and at the end of this month two fairs take the concept a step further, joining forces for a two-in-one event at the Battersea Evolution marquee in Battersea Park, London.
The winter Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair and the London Antique Rug & Textile Art Fair (LARTA) remain distinct events. However, they are running simultaneously and in the same place from January 24-29 this year in a schedule that organisers hope will continue in the future.
The combination is a sign of the current strength on the part of each event.
When the link-up was announced last year, LARTA organiser Aaron Nejad said that his fair had outgrown its previous space at The Showroom in Marylebone.
The move to the mezzanine level of Evolution gives the fair, now in its seventh year, a chance to expand.
It features antique rugs, carpets, tapestries and textiles, pitching itself to an international crowd as the only event of its kind in Europe given its size and the quality of its offerings.
The fair has grown already, with 20 dealers set to exhibit this year, up from 11 in 2016. Among the new exhibitors is Liberty Oriental Carpets from Liberty of London, which is launching an exclusive range of hand-woven silk rugs.
Other new exhibitors include C John Rare Carpets, the only carpet gallery to hold a Royal Warrant, 16th-19th century European textile specialist Peta Smyth, contemporary carpet design specialist Gideon Hatch and Islamic textiles and art specialist Arian Arts.
Also expect Andy Lloyd, Owen Parry and Brian MacDonald, as well as organiser Nejad.
For those wanting to plan their trip to the fair, a concurrent ‘virtual fair’ – essentially an online viewing gallery – is available on the LARTA website.
“We anticipate exciting times ahead with these major developments for LARTA – not just for visitors but for our new and existing exhibitors too,” Nejad said.
“We look forward to our new space alongside the wonderful decorative fair.”
The Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair is the larger and longer-established of the two events, hosting 147 exhibitors separate to LARTA.
During the last edition of the three-times-a-year decorative fair, when the mezzanine was open to exhibitors for the first time, the venue held a record 160 exhibitors.
This month the combined weight of the two fairs pushes the number higher still.
As part of the theme for this edition, exhibitors have been encouraged to give gothic a 21st century twist, to show how antique pieces can work in a modern home.
Now in its third decade, however, the fair has a wide scope overall, featuring furniture and objects dating from the 17th century to the 1970s.
Battersea decorative fair
Among the newcomers are Malby Maps, Anthony Fell with 18th and 19th century furniture, Patch Rogers with early 20th century design and Sjöström Antic with Scandinavian 20th century design.
They join regulars such as Robin Cox Antiques, bringing examples of early furniture and carving, Molly Hogg Design with a range of antique textiles and Dickson Rendall Antiques, specialising in 20th century furniture, mirrors and works of art.