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Visitors browsing at the first 'Belfast Titanic Antiques and Fine Art Fair'. Image: Noelle McElhatton.

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The setting for the first Belfast Titanic Antiques and Fine Art Fair on December 8 couldn’t have been more propitious.

It was held in the Titanic Hotel, arranged in one of the atmospheric Harland & Wolff drawing offices with their glass-domed ceilings where designs for that most famous ocean liner were created.

With a unique view of the silver-bladed sides of the Titanic Museum behind the hotel, the omens were good for co-organisers Des Gallagher and Garth Arnold, neither of whom had previously organised an antiques fair.

Post-fair their consensus view of the event and the afternoon auction was that feedback from exhibitors and visitors was excellent, which has encouraged the duo to book two initial dates for next year.

Gallagher said: “We have now booked our two first fairs at the Titanic Hotel in 2020. The first is Sunday, March 15, which we will market as the Titanic St Patrick’s Day Fair and the second is on Sunday, May 17, when a cruise ship is docked nearby.”

He added: “We are also condensing the number of jewellery stands at future fairs and adding antique Irish maps, antiquarian books, Irish textiles, antique Waterford Crystal and possibly militaria.”

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Paul Millar, who deals online as Original Irish Art and who also has a gallery in Cork, had a well visited stand at the 'Belfast Titanic Antiques and Art Fair'. He said: “I enjoyed the fair and thought it was well organised and well run. I would do it again and wouldn’t mind paying a little extra for my tables if the entrance fee was free. Lots of folk enjoyed seeing a wide range of Northern Ireland artist Con Campbell’s work in the flesh and we sold quite a few of his paintings.” 'Coloured Pony 2', pictured, a signed original oil-on-board by Campbell, one of whose specialities is animal studies, was priced at £225 unframed.

Among the visitors were enthusiastic buyers of antiques and art –particularly Irish art – Susan and Alan Logan from Belfast, who had keenly anticipated the new fair.

Alan said: “We are very glad we made the effort on a blustery Sunday afternoon to visit the first of these events. We enjoyed browsing the many stalls and finally succumbed to a small but striking Con Campbell painting of a seagull in flight.”

Susan added: “We hope to see more of these fairs and as they develop and grow that we see an even greater variety of Irish antiques and artists.’’

Contact Des Gallagher on email des101@btinternet.com or call 07974 027596.