John Barkes offers The New Tractor by Nikolai Bondarenko, oil on board, early 1960s, for £480 (unframed) at the Battersea Decorative fair.

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Two presentations of Ukrainian art feature at the next Decorative Antiques and Textiles Fair.

Returning for its second staging of the year with 130 exhibitors, the fair is staged at London Evolution in Battersea Park from May 4-8.

Though on a shorter basis than its typical six-day run, it offers the familiar mix of antiques, decorative items, garden furniture, fine art and more.

Like the market at large, the fair continues to emerge from the shadow of the pandemic and continues to face global uncertainty, including the continuing war in Ukraine. Many dealers have done their bit for the crisis with charitable initiatives, but among those who have felt a direct impact as a result is regular exhibitor John Barkes.

Since 1993, his business has revolved around post-Soviet paintings, many sourced direct from artists in St Petersburg. However, for the past seven years he has also looked to the Ukraine for his stock, and at the upcoming fair his stand is entirely comprised of Ukrainian pictures. He has set aside his supply of Russian works.

“I’ve wrapped that part of the business up for the minute”, Barkes says. He has a healthy supply of Ukrainian works built up but ceasing trade in all Russian pictures must be difficult. However, he brushes it off – “what’s important is happening over there”, he adds.

As usual Barkes shares a large stand split down the middle with his brother Percy (bringing art from Japan, Yalta and Sevastopol).

He will also man a second stand this year offering works to support the UK-UKR fund. This endeavour is a result of a previous Decorative fair when the dealer met Vladimir Tchaly, a Ukrainian artist, collector and architect based in Chelsea Harbour.

Tchaly is selling his personal collection of Contemporary art with all the proceeds going to help displaced Ukrainian artists. The stand will be located near the café and works may be purchased through Barkes.

Around the rest of the fair it is business as near to normal as possible, though the challenges of a changed world endure.

Dealer Robbie Timms of S & S Timms says: “I’m really looking forward to the fair because there just seem to be so few quality, but not astronomically expensive fairs out there to go and exhibit at presently; it’s becoming a real challenge.”

A long-time exhibitor, he brings a 19th century mahogany French Empire period library armchair in the manner of Jacob-Desmalter of Paris, which is offered for £4500.

Among the newcomers to this edition is Apollo Galleries, bringing ancient art such as a Roman amphoriskos from north Africa, c.300-400AD.

The redware jug features an applied decoration of a youthful Bacchus drinking from a wine cup and the neck is marked with two concentric grooves. It is available for £2000.

The gallery joins other new faces such as Finntage Interiors bringing 20th century design, Ground One Six with 1960s, 70s and 80s Hollywood Regency pieces and porcelain and ceramics specialist Philip Carrol Antiques.

Garden items often perform well at this spring event, as buyers prepare for al fresco dining and entertaining. Among the outdoor pieces is a 20th century spelter figure of Peter Pan after George Frampton’s statue of the character in Kensington Gardens which Garden Artefacts offers for £2500.

Also among the exhibitors are Justin Evershed-Martin, Joshua Lumley, Linda Jackson Antique Silver and Nic McElhatton.