AS the private jets fly into Maastricht there is no doubting TEFAF’s international credentials. But at the same time in London there is an unashamedly national fair which has over the past 22 years built up a reputation for quality and charm which puts it in a class of its own on the UK fairs scene.
And the BADA Antiques & Fine Art Fair is a class act. As its name suggests this is the showcase of the British Antique Dealers Association, the country’s oldest and most exclusive trade association and from March 19 to 25 some 100 members put out the cream of their stock in the elegantly designed interior of a smart marquee in Duke of York’s Square, near Sloane Square, SW3.
No surprise that this is a very English affair but that is its strength, and it has built up a loyal following. English staples like fine furniture, from the likes of Godson and Coles and Harris Lindsay, and exceptional clocks, from such top dealers as Anthony Woodburn and Howard Walwyn, always sell well but there is much else.
The fair is popular with local buyers and antique buffs who come up from the shires especially for the event.
But the trading is no longer parochial and with the increasing presence of foreign, very wealthy residents in the Chelsea vicinity there are more sales to overseas clients, including Russians.
The fair organiser Gillian Craig has skilfully and ably guided this fair to attract a more international audience while retaining its identity, but while most customers are home grown the very Englishness of this event in my opinion will attract wider attention. It already has a strong American fan base.
We picture London porcelain dealer Roderick Jellicoe on his BADA stand and congratulations are in order for Rod, who has been dealing in mainly English porcelain for almost 40 years.
He has been appointed to the board of the American Ceramic Circle, which limits the number of dealers who can become members. An English dealer has never before been invited on the board.
Rod is well known in the USA, has shown at the New York Ceramic Fair for 15 years and has sold a lot to American collectors and museums.
Early American porcelain is a particular interest and he has done much research in South Carolina on John Bartlam, America’s first porcelain manufacturer. It is thought the dealer’s repatriation of Bartlam’s porcelain back to the USA, alongside his professional standing, led to his being asked to join the ACC board.
A fair well worth a visit.