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Patricia Harvey, who founded the Decorative Fair.

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Patricia had been a well-known and respected figure worldwide within the antiques trade as the founder and organiser of The Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair which she ran with her husband Ralph.

She first started her antiques career cutting her teeth on stalls in Camden Passage, Portobello road and Bermondsey markets.

She was one of the first dealers to open a shop in Westbourne Grove, which became a famous trading area.

Birth of the Decorative Fair

In the 1970s she began running successful regular one-day antiques fairs in London hotels and it was through a difficult and less than pleasant time participating as an exhibitor herself at a four-day fair that she decided she could organise a longer event herself – only it would it would be different experience all round!

From that decision the Decorative Fair was born and she blazed a trail across the antiques fair establishment and circuits.

Encouraged to decorate their own stands and display stock in a non-regimented manner, exhibitors were looked after. She introduced the ‘Harvey Boys’ – mainly a collection of jobbing actors – to help with the carrying and they were often highly entertaining.

Dogs were allowed, the food was good, the Bloody Marys better and the happy, relaxed informal atmosphere showed. It helped to make it a pleasant buying experience for designers, dealers and the general public.

Battersea Park venue

The fair continued to go from strength to strength and as it grew changed venues until it settled and established itself as a thrice-yearly six-day event in a marquee in Battersea Park – another new experience.

Other fairs in this category may have followed her lead but her presence and personality were unique and so were her events. Patricia fought so hard over the years as she and the fair were often frowned on and misunderstood and she fought so bravely at the end of her life.

Shop continues

She leaves a shop in Church St Marylebone which will continue to be run by her daughter Victoria, her other daughter Sarah and grandson Jonathan, but with a massive void to fill.

She was strong, quite fierce at times, but seriously kind, loving and loyal – an amazing woman and mother and will be missed desperately by those who loved and knew her.

Due to the pandemic Patricia’s service will be limited, but her family would like very much to thank all the people who have sent such lovely messages expressing their respect honouring her as a person and what she achieved for so many within the business.

From family