Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful: familiar words of advice from Art & Crafts leading light William Morris.
That maxim may be more than 130 years old but judging by the young faces at Love Fairs’ Antiques, Collectables and Vintage Fair Brighton event on Sunday, October 20, it resonates with today’s carbon-footprint conscious generations.
These are the buying demographics coveted by many event organisers these days, including Donny and Angela Mann from Love Fairs.
“Our Lingfield event, which runs five times a year, is about traditional antiques with a higher price range, but Brighton is more eclectic and attracts a younger audience from nearby,” says Angela.
“Younger buyers tend to look for usable antiques, and that’s what you’ll see across the 175 stands today,” she says, adding that “yes, we’ve sold items here for £20,000 here but that’s not as common as in Lingfield”.
The Brighton event is a bustling bazaar of china, glass, silver, jewellery, kitchenalia, advertising signs and vintage luggage – where ‘period’ can mean Art Deco and 19th century but also 1970s and recycled.
Joan and Fred Mitchell no longer stock Victorian and Edwardian china – “young people don’t want it” – and instead specialise in wood and metal items sourced from India.
“I love antique brown furniture… it just depends on the shade of brown,” says young lawyer Alicia Worboys, purchasing a small late Victorian fruitwood stepladder from Joan.
Worboys comes from an antiques-loving family – her dad Jose Sarrado is an ATG subscriber, horologist father-in-law Nigel was behind the ‘Antiques are Green’ campaign and sister Amelie Sarrado works at Christie’s.
Martin Easton, who sells vintage luggage, metal document boxes and postal objects at Love Fairs events and IACF Ardingly, makes a point of spending time talking to young buyers.
He says they are keener to listen these days, thanks to TV shows such as Game of Thrones.
“If we can get them interested at that age – explain the real history behind the objects – you’ve got a new generation of buyers,” he says.