“At Olympia it’s a mixture of longstanding collectors I’ve known for many years as well as people who want to decorate their homes with beautiful antique items who buy from me,” Norman tells ATG. “I bring a range of items to satisfy each group.”
She specialises in blue and white transferware and the key, she confides, is to bring a variety of 19th century English pieces for the dedicated collectors while ensuring that there is a good selection of usable pieces, such as vases, that will suit interior designers.
Olympia is 45 this year and knows a thing or two itself. For 2017 it is leaning to the decorators’ market with the launch of the Interior Design Talk Series, where experts such as Grant Pierrus, Emma Burns and Henrietta Spencer-Churchill will dispense advice on using the pieces available at the fair in the home.
In Norman’s opinion this is a “very positive” addition as the series is sure to bring in more buyers. She is a staunch supporter of the fair, calling it “the one unmissable event in London”, though she observes that there are fewer specialist dealers with affordable stock than there were once thanks to costs.
Small but beautiful
She adds: “I’ve had a lot of practice putting a display together in a small space but it has to look very attractive and inviting.”
Norman is one of more than 120 dealers from the UK and beyond who will stand at the fair. Among the other exhibitors are Sue Brown, specialising in quirky jewels from the past, Hatchwell Antiques, bringing a selection of late 19th to mid-20th century furniture and lighting, Hickmet Fine Art, picture dealer John Barks and silver specialist Eastdale Antiques.
For the second year, The Sculptural Objects Functional Art and Design Fair (SOFA) returns, staging a version of the Chicago show. An area of the exhibition hall is given over to SOFA London’s selection of contemporary three-dimensional art and design after a positive reception last year.
Other talks scheduled will be presented by curators from The British Museum, Tate Britain and Sotheby’s. Independent art advisor Vanessa Curry will lead daily highlight tours.
This year, following the closure of Art Antiques London, Olympia’s seven-day event is one of only two major summer fairs taking place in the capital along with Masterpiece. Organisers are keen to show it to its best advantage.
“Olympia in June is the place to buy that elusive piece that so many of us dream of owning,” says fair director Mary Claire Boyd. “The 45th edition of this flagship fair includes exhibitors who can only be seen at this UK show, while others save and restore their best pieces for this keenly anticipated event.”