BATH DECORATIVE ANTIQUES F FAIR 2017
POST FAIR REPORT
The 28th Bath Decorative Antiques Fair was held at the Pavilion, Bath from 3-5 March 2017 with a Trade Preview on Thursday 2 March.
The BDAF Trade Preview has become something of a legend in the antiques trade with a significant amount of the overall business done in one afternoon. Notable trade from the UK, Europe and USA start to queue at 9 am with the show not opening until 12pm! Vans were parked up the night before in anticipation of filling and fleeing back to shops and warehouses across the UK and beyond. Shippers were on site on behalf of 6 good US buyers on the day.
There was no significant single trend at the fair which had a very balanced look with plenty of furniture to buy in addition to the expected and sought after decorative antiques, Folk Art, garden antiques and a growing showing of CMid pieces. Perhaps the only identifiable trend was that people were there to buy and there was a real focus among buyers both trade and public.
The challenge for the organisers has always been to keep the momentum going for the next 3 days after he Trade Preview and at the 2017 edition this intent was absolutely fulfilled with major business taking place on all days of the event resulting in a more or less complete exhibitor satisfaction and a record breaking attendance on all days – attendance was up c25%.
The marketing campaign for 2017 embraced the digital arena and the response from the public was remarkable with ticket downloads via the BDAF site more than double over last year.
A comment from the founder of the fair Robin Coleman who visited on Thursday was echoed by many trade visitors: “This fair is jam packed with stock to buy – all under one roof. It looks the best I have seen it in years. The trade find it harder to buy than sell these days and this fair looks fantastic and offers a major buying opportunity for trade from both the decorative and semi formal sectors.”
The 3 days following the Trade Preview saw a number of good interior decorators buying for the hotel trade. Bath is one of the top 3 tourist destinations in the UK alongside London and Edinburgh, and the hotel and restaurant industry make the most of the opportunity to buy at this unique event.
The 2 tours which took place – Friday - Judith Miller’s Top Picks for Collectors and Sunday - Edd Thomas of Antiques Young Guns, “Style Up Spring in Bath – working with antiques in the modern home” were extremely popular and attended by design bloggers and members of the public across the generations. The tours encouraged the public to come and see what the fair offers and both events contributed to the mission statement of the pr campaign at Bath – to engage with the public and encourage them to understand that antiques are relevant in the modern home. One of the younger design bloggers on the tours, Sara McConnachie from Style Salvo, said: “I just cannot believe how many things I want to take home – I had no idea it was so much fun!”
The fair welcomed a number of new exhibitors this year. Kore Purchase, Tetbury sold very well and has booked for 2018. Owner Andrew Purchase: “I did not realise quite how smart the fair is with so many superb pieces for sale. We have sold a number of key pieces, definitely coming back next year.” Off The Wall Antiques, Bath, Alex Tennant, Geoffrey Breeze, sold well throughout the fair and reported that 2 new clients they had met at the fair came to the shop the following week and bought very well. Elizabeth Lee Interiors, sold possibly the largest French mirror in England and an exquisite Swedish cupboard with a hand blocked floral painted interior to a US buyer from CT, and a huge pair of wirework jardinières to a local decorator, among many pieces sold throughout the fair and will be returning in 2018. Vagabond Antiques, Sussex, were delighted with their debut which had been their first major indoor event, and sold a number of key pieces on the Trade Preview and continued to sell during the public days.
The Archives Antiques from Belgium had a very good fair selling mainly smaller decorative pieces and have booked to return in 2018. They have also booked to show at The Bruton Decorative Antiques Fair. They said they very much enjoyed the spirit of the fair which was lively and friendly and offered them the chance to engage with potential new clients for their UK showroom at Hemswell Antiques in Lincolnshire.
La Place Antiques, Sussex, sold an important Italian crystal chandelier, also to the US buyer from CT, and had to restock their stand almost completely on Saturday. A nearby exhibitor thought they were packing up and going home as their stand was almost empty but in fact they had sold a huge amount to a private client they had not seen for some time who had found them at the fair. They will be returning in 2018. The Swedish Room, Hungerford, Liane McRae Stewart, returning after a gap of a few years, “Very pleased with sales, will return in 2018”, sold a number of pieces to a US buyer from Santa Barbara, CA and another US buyer from CT. Catherine Waters from Tetbury, sold an enormous industrial counter to another exhibitor at the fair among various decorative and garden pieces and met a number of new clients.
Returning exhibitor Chris Holmes Antiques, Harrogate, “We had a fantastic fair and sold across the board.” His partner, artist Chloe Holt, sold a number of large scale artworks to local buyers. Chloe reported that it was a sell-out exhibition making Chris Holmes's appearance one of their most successful fairs to date.
Architectural salvage sold very well and Simon Wharton Antiques, Somerset, almost sold out on the Trade Preview with a number of very good French stone fire surrounds being snapped up. John Wiseman, London, sold a number of pieces of lighting and a good stone and iron garden table, among a number of decorative pieces.
Linda North, Hertfordshire, specialist garden antiques dealer, sold a vast double sided clam shell [which took 4 men to carry in to the fair], immediately on the Trade Preview. The rest of her stand had to be completely re-stocked on Friday and she continued to sell very well until the end of the Fair.
Four regular exhibitors: Erna Hiscock & John Shepherd, Appledore Antiques, Devon, Terry & Marie Kelly, Somerset and Cherrie & Michael Todd, Somerset, dealers in Folk Art, samplers, country furniture, and English pottery and glass all sold well and continued to re-stock throughout the fair. All will be returning in 2018.
Regular exhibitors Simon & Candy Moss of Not Wanted on Voyage, Oxfordshire, said :It was just like the old times – long queues with willing and anxious to buy clients. We sold across the board, decorative and CMid including a large 1970s steel and glass room divider to a well known celebrity.
DATE OF THE NEXT FAIR 8-11 MARCH 2018