The Decorative Antiques and Textiles Fair is the interior designers’ favourite event, as they can always find something unique and special. It attracts the big names in the interior design business — Neisha Crosland, Nina Campbell and Nicky Haslam, who come in search of inspiration and reasonably priced treasures.
Strong statement pieces abound as well as easy-to-live-with classics. In the marquee in Battersea Park, there are 19th-century French mirrors and mid-century Danish coffee tables, original Anglepoise lamps, vintage Mariano Fortuny fabrics, fossils and beautiful, muted South American tribal rugs.
Some of the best value is to be found among the glass and ceramics. Newcomer FCR Gallery is bringing 20th-century pieces, with vases designed by Vicki Lindstrand for the Swedish glass manufacturer, Kosta, priced at £300 to £500. Gwenola Pilard of Quindry offers her usual stylish fare, including a pair of matt-black ceramic wall vases in the shape of hands (£280).
Glassware is available at every price point, from a fabulous deep blue Venini bottle (De Parma, £1,600) to a selection of French 19th-century engraved marriage glasses (Fontaine, £145 to £175) and pretty lime-green cocktail glasses by Bimini Verkstatte (James Strang, £60 each).
And don’t miss Model Living, the selling exhibition in the foyer, based on Alasdair Brown’s collection of miniature furniture and architectural models. Brown is well known for his eye for decorative oddities and his penchant for building up collections in under-researched areas, such as vintage gym equipment and pre-war heaters in the shape of yachts.
Model Living showcases pieces made by cabinetmakers’ apprentices, delicately constructed architects’ mock-ups of buildings, educational models of natural history exhibits, toy Noah’s Arks and dolls’ houses. The skill with which they have been crafted is impressive and their quirkiness and quality encapsulates the spirit of the fair.
The Decorative Antiques and Textiles Fair takes place from 30 September to 5 October, at the Marquee, Battersea Park, SW11, 020 7624 5173; www.decorativefair.com.
Relaunch for Little Chelsea fair
A welcome change from the autumn megafairs is the Little Chelsea Antiques Fair, held in Chelsea Old Town Hall on the King’s Road. Silver dealer Daniel Cotton took over Little Chelsea this year, and has nursed this tiny event back from the brink of disappearance.
For its March relaunch, he put together a lively, varied bunch of 53 dealers, offering a mix of lighting, Sixties furniture, textiles, jewellery, silver, china and glassware that would appeal to the tastes of local residents. The stock is undoubtedly appealing, but pricing, says Cotton, is key. He briefs his exhibitors to keep prices low — “You just can’t have dealers offering unaffordable things nowadays,” he says, adding, “there are definitely bargains to be had. There are plenty of items for £10 to £30.”
Popular buys include pairs of Sixties leather armchairs, which can be had for £950, and table lamps from the 1900s, which sell from £125. Victorian porcelain plates go from £25, and grander sets of 12 solid silver dinner plates, dated 1894, cost £4,150.
From 6 to 7 October, the Little Chelsea Antiques Fair, Chelsea Old Town Hall, King’s Road, SW3 (020 7258 1159).
Sale at Lady Pidgeon’s country nest
Next month sees a good old-fashioned in-situ country house sale, held in a Herefordshire mansion.
When Lady Pamela Pidgeon started her antiques business in the Sixties, she travelled through Somerset selling furniture, paintings, ceramics and silver from the boot of a Morris Minor. By the time she wound up the firm to retire to Australia, Lady Pamela commanded a fleet of chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royces that ferried clients from the local station to her Herefordshire mansion, Great Brampton House.
On 1 October, the former model’s glamorous version of English Country House style can be acquired wholesale when the contents of her home comes under the hammer.
Though there are plenty of extravagant lots (such as a large pair of recumbent leopards in glazed pottery, est. £12,000 to £18,000) there are also a surprising number of items with estimates around £100. A pair of Adam-style silver bonbon dishes, made in London in 1894, and a silver coffee pot, made in Birmingham in 1932, are each estimated at £100-£150.
1 October, Contents of Great Brampton House. Bonhams, 101 New Bond Street, W1 (020 7393 3900; www.bonhams.com).
In the frame
The first interiors sale of the autumn, at Christie’s South Kensington on Sunday, includes furniture, works of art, silver and porcelain formerly owned by Lord Richardson of Duntisbourne (Governor of the Bank of England from 1973-1983).
Among a line-up of lead urns and mahogany chests, Lord Richardson reveals a taste for paintings of homely 18th-century Italian noblewomen. The portrait (right) of Archduchess Maria Amalia of Austria, Duchess of Parma and Piacenza, is expected to fetch £1,000 to £1,500.
28 September, The Collection of Lord Richardson of Duntisbourne KG, and The Harmsworth Collection, removed from Lime Lodge, Egham, Surrey, Christie’s South Kensington, 85 Old Brompton Road, SW7 (020 7930 6074, www.christies.com).