Moving a successful antiques fair by two months is not a decision any organiser takes lightly.
For those running the annual CADA Art & Antiques Fair, the move from April to February 21-24 for its eighth edition was risky but unavoidable, if they wanted to retain use of Blenheim Palace in Woodstock and its light-infused Orangery.
“We had no choice but to move because of a palace schedule clash,” said Maggie Robinson, CADA fair co-ordinator. “We were dreading it, as we thought the weather would be ghastly. But the glorious sun came out and footfall is way up on last year.”
CADA is in talks with Blenheim Palace, a highly popular venue for corporate and private events, about available dates in 2020.
ATG visited on the final day, a Sunday, wondering whether a setting as alluring as Blenheim Palace, combined with great weather, would distract the buying mindset.
In fact, these factors, together with the diversity of goods on offer made for happy dealers and buyers. “I sold every day and found lots of new clients,” said fine art dealer Sarah Colegrave. “It was my best Blenheim fair ever.”
For a small event – about 30 stands this year – CADA covers a lot of ground. Furniture and flat art dominate, but stands with glass, ceramics and jewellery rub shoulders with objets d’art and silver.
Trinity House and Freshfords Fine Antiques had rooms to themselves, while non-CADA members stood in a downstairs section. One dealer there said the journey had been “worth it” but asked not to be named, keen to preserve his exclusive slot at the fair.
Ceramics dealer John Howard had travelled the shortest of distances, as his Antiques at Heritage centre is a stone’s throw from the palace. Could his shop not have piggybacked on CADA fair traffic?
“Goodness, no!” he said, laughing. “In our centre you can buy things for £50, but the level here at CADA is so much higher and exclusive. You have to do both.”