So we are now mid way through June and it gives us a chance to take stock of all the changes that have happened to the Antique World this June.

The rebranded Summer Olympia and the new Art Antiques London Fairs have been and gone and we await the start of the new Masterpiece Fair.

The Florida impressario David Lester and his wife Lee Ann have taken a 50% stake in Summer Olympia, now called the London International Fine Art Fair, and promised to take it more upmarket. The fair certainly looked very smart with the entrance being beautifully presented and I thought the collector's crescent cleverly resolved the usually ugly area at the rear of the fair. Yet when I visited on the first Friday the aisles could hardly be described as bustling and exhibitors seemed a bit down trodden. It seems that despite all the rebranding and the associated costs Olympia had failed to return to anywhere near the boom times.

The mood at Art Antiques London was noticeably more upbeat. This new fair organised by the Haughtons is situated in a marquee opposite the Albert Hall. It encompassed the old Ceramics Fair and there was a noticeable slant towards this discipline but there were several fine picture and silver dealers and a touch of furniture. This fair had a fresher more vibrant feel and this seemed to engender a corresponding upsurge in business.

Now we wait to see what happens with Masterpiece. Many think it is too late in the month and many Americans who came for Olympia will already have returned home.

One thing we have certainly noticed is that all this change has tempted over several Americans who have not visited these shores in years. The question is were they buyers or just tyre kickers?


June 17, 2010 — Peter Alexander
Tags: Opinion