This year, Antiques for Everyone celebrates thirty years at the heart of the UK antiques market when the doors open for the summer fair at the iconic National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, from 23 – 26 July 2015. We take a look at what visitors to this year’s event can expect and how readers of Antique Collecting can get complimentary tickets by clicking here.
Antiques for Everyone began in the summer of 1986 as a large-scale standfitted fair to provide a broad range of art and antiques and with prices from less than £10 to more than 100,000. It was the first fair outside London to provide such a huge selection of antiques in a professionally presented, vetted and datelined fair.
Today, 30 years later, it is one of Britain’s most popular antiques fair attracting more than 10,000 visitors three times a year. The huge opening day queue regularly exceeds 2,000 as trade buyers and private collectors arrive from across the world to buy from more than 200 specialist dealers.
Over the decades Antiques for Everyone has constantly proved to be an important event for collectors, trade buyers and anyone with an interest in acquiring rare and decorative antiques, fine art and objets d’art. The range of exhibits is always evolving as new specialists join and respond to the latest collecting trends and changes to interior style and design.
Deryshire Blue John display
A display of Blue John will be a major attraction this summer. Presented by Fellows, the Birmingham auctioneers, the display showcases a variety of pieces of highly collectable jewellery and stoneware. Blue John is a semi-precious mineral, a form of fluorite with bands of a purple-blue or yellowish colour. In the UK it is found only at Blue John Cavern and Treak Cliff Cavern at Castleton in Derbyshire.
During the 19th century it was mined for its ornamental value, and mining continues on a small scale. The use of this wonderfully coloured mineral became increasingly popular in the second half of the eighteenth century and was fashioned into decorative objects including jewellery.
Jeremy Thornton, an independent art expert, will be presenting a talk, Buying Art as an Investment on Friday, 25th July. Jeremy will discuss the evolving trends on the art market and his experiences in areas of prosperity and decline, the difference between a short term and long term investment and key elements to look for when considering buying art for an investment. Whilst drawing on pieces of artwork from surrounding exhibitors stands, Jeremy will look at both Contemporary and Traditional art, considering all kinds of budgets and tastes.
Wide appeal of antiques
Antiques for Everyone is always popular for its range of Georgian and Victorian furniture and traditional art but today the fair is now a major source for high quality Arts & Crafts, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, with more than forty dealers. The addition of 20th century specialists has added further diversity and encouraged a younger range of collectors and home designers. “Mid-Century Modern pieces are increasingly popular,” says Show Manager Dan Leyland from Clarion Events. “With the phrase ‘antique’ meaning pieces more than fifty years old, the 1950’s and 60’s are the focus of many collectors due to their frequent affordability and so the fair is constantly adding new specialist exhibitors with post-war exhibits.”
The fair is also very popular with pottery, porcelain and glass collectors who can buy from no fewer than fifty specialists. More than twenty galleries participate, showing paintings that range from 16th century portraits to Victorian watercolours and the 20th century works of L.S.Lowry.
At recent fairs, increasing numbers of private and trade buyers from Asia and the Far East have boosted sales and now the fair features a greater range of Oriental and Eastern art and antiques than ever.
Part of the fair’s appeal lies in its format, with two distinct sections. High quality period furniture, ceramics, paintings, silver, jewellery and Decorative Arts feature in Section One, where there are no dateline restrictions, and an even wider display of antiques and collectables are on sale in Section Two.
An estimated 100,000 items go on sale and the value of exhibits exceeds £10 million.
Dan Leyland continues, “Antiques for Everyone has not only delivered tens of thousands of collectors in the past 30 years, but has become an integral part of the UK art and antiques market. Business worth many millions of pounds is achieved as we welcome collectors from all over the world. All kinds of rare and expensive pieces have been discovered and purchased over the years and, as the dealers tell me, there is there is always something for everyone. The fair’s appeal is in the name!’
Among the fair’s many well-known exhibitors will be specialists in Arts & Crafts, Art Nouveau and Art Deco. These include James Strang with Scottish and Continental pieces, Deco Dave with lighting and ceramics, James Miles and Sandy Stanley with ceramics and glass, Hickmet Fine Arts with sculpture and glass by Emile Galle, Rene Lalique, Ferdinand Priess and Demetre Chiparus while Marion David Decorative Arts has silver and collectables.
Silver specialists show a huge range of pieces from the 17th to mid-20th century; Acorn Antiques, Highland Antiques, Mary Cooke Antiques, Jack Shaw & Co, S. & A. Marsh, Elizabeth Nicolson and John Bull Antiques are among the dealers. Jewellery specialists include Trivette, Shapiro & Co, Plaza, T.Robert, Anderson Jones and Howell’s from Lancashire, among many others.
Specialist ceramics and glass dealers make the fair an essential call for collectors and connoisseurs. Early English pottery features on the stand of Bottlebrook Antiques, Roger de Ville, Blue & White from Catherine Hunt Oriental while David & Sally March Antiques, Philip Carrol and Julian Eade all specialise in fine 18th and 19th century porcelain. Andrew Muir shows a superb range of Clarice Cliff and 20th century pieces.
English formal furniture is strongly represented by a number of well-known names, including Melody Antiques, S & S Timms Antiques, Mark Buckley Antiques, Mark Seabrook Antiques, Cantelo Antiques, Andrew Lovatt Antiques and Tim Saltwell.
There are many more specialists. Brian Watson Antique Glass, Scarab, Joscelyn Vereker and Prisma Gallery show English and Continental glass; Wigs on the Green specialise in rare portrait miniatures, John Shepherd and Erna Hiscock show folk art and early samplers, Hazlehurst Antiques specialise in 19th century French bronze statuary, Alan Walker specialises in banjo and stick barometers while Steve Kember presents fully restored music boxes.
Returning dealer Koos Limburg Jnr. from Scotland will be showing an eclectic range of British and European period and 20th century furniture, lighting, objects and paintings. Art is strongly represented by galleries with everything from fine 18th century portraits to contemporary illustrators. These include Callaghan of Shrewsbury, Cambridge Fine Art, Granta Fine Art, Saunders Fine Art, Benton Fine Art, Plumb’s Fine Art, Art World Gallery, Graham Bentley Watercolours, Art of the Imagination and Baron Fine Art.