All forthcoming indoor fairs have been effectively cancelled by a government announcement prolonging restrictions on events of more than 30 people taking place at conference and event venues until October 1.
However, the West Sussex fair, which runs in a marquee in the grounds of Petworth House, has qualified as an outdoor event. Last week it was granted approval by the National Trust to take place from September 11-13 – a date rescheduled from its original spot in May.
“It’s obviously what we were hoping for,” organiser Ingrid Nilson of Antiques Dealers Fair Limited told ATG. “Because we are classed as an outdoor event, we have an opportunity that isn’t open to many other fairs before October.”
For the 50 or so dealers slated to stand at Petworth, the fair now offers a bright spot on the calendar.
“They were absolutely elated,” Nilson says of the exhibitors. “They’ve had this hiatus since mid-March and they’ve been hearing about the other events they were hoping for in September being cancelled.”
But after months of uncertainty her pleasure at the verdict is tempered. She adds: “We all know that the situation today might not be the same in a few weeks so we’re more nervous than we would be before a normal fair.”
Few other antiques shows have been so fortunate.
Neither Cooper Events’ Cotswolds Decorative Antiques & Art Fair at Westonbirt House (September 4-6) nor Penman Antique Fairs’ Petersfield Antiques Fair on the same weekend are able to go ahead as a result of restrictions.
Galloway Antiques Fairs has also cancelled its two September events planned for Arley Hall in Northwich and Duncombe Park in Yorkshire in reaction to the guidance.
In a fluid situation, the Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair in Battersea, scheduled to run from September 29 to October 4, is waiting for clarification on whether or not it can take place under government guidance.
Among the other autumn fairs that have been called off are PAD London, Frieze and Frieze Masters, all of which would have run in October, as well as the debut edition of Eye of the Collector which had also been rescheduled from May to September.
Also in London, the IACF show at Alexandra Palace and Adams Antiques Fairs’ monthly event at the Royal Horticultural Hall are both off in September, although Jay Fairs at Benson, near Oxford, plans to go ahead with its event on August 16 (see Fairs, Markets & Centres).
Currently confirmed to go ahead is the Winter Art & Antiques Fair Olympia, which is set for November 3-8 with 70 exhibitors.