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The 21st Winter Fine Art & Antiques Fair at Olympia November 14-20, 2011
November 4, 2011  | 
The Winter Fine Art & Antiques Fair at Olympia, now in its 21st year, is considered one of the most important annual art and antiques events and is the only fair of its calibre between October and February. Attracting over 24,000 visitors, the Fair features close to 140 exhibitors in an elegant setting and runs from the 14th to the 20th November, 2011.

Supported by the UK’s top trade associations, the British Antique Dealers’ Association (BADA) and The Association of Art & Antiques Dealers (LAPADA), every exhibitor has been approved by a panel of experts and these include some of the UK’s leading dealers in their field.

The Winter Fair has become an event in the annual social calendar. Previous attendees have included Bono, Claudia Schiffer, Jemima Khan, Jools Holland, Jasper Conran, Bryan Ferry, Nicky Haslam, Kay Saatchi, Sir Paul Smith, Sir David Tang and Sir Peter Blake.

On display at the fair, before the sale in New York in January, will be the Prospero Collection of Greek coins. Baldwin’s has
assembled one of the finest collections of ancient Greek coins to be sold for 20 years. The multi million pound collection contains over 600 coins including some of the rarest and historically important.

Argyll Etkin has a collection of photographs and letters that document an extraordinary relationship between Queen Elizabeth (later the Queen Mother) and princess Elizabeth (later Elizabeth II) and their haberdasher. The relationship began by chance in the 1920s when the then Duchess of York came into the shop managed by a Lily Clarke. A young widow with a son to support, the Royal Family became Clarke’s life. The collection includes Princess Elizabeth’s birthday cake as well as invitations to family weddings, christenings and private pantomimes. The 17 royal Christmas cards represent an historical record of the first half of the 20th century. The collection comes from the estate of Lily Clarke’s niece who was the novelist Elizabeth Berridge.

Asian specialist, Laura Bordignon has a Japanese bronze Samurai warrior that is unusual for its size at 27 inches (they are usually around 15 inches). Wearing full body armour and kabuto with swords drawn, on a carved wood stand, it is signed Gyoko and dates from the Meiji Period. The artist Akasofu Gyoko had a workshop in Tokyo producing metalwork sculpture for export during the Meiji Period.

For visitors interested in the art of war, arms and armoury specialist, Garth Vincent has amongst his stock an Italian close helmet dating from c 1560; a cased pair of flintlock travelling pistols from 1785 and a brass-barrelled flintlock officers pistol, c.1790. Some more up to date masculine accessories are available through walking cane specialist Geoffrey Breeze, who brings a Faberge, silver handled in a pan Slavic style from the Moscow workshop. Other pieces amongst his collection include canes that can open up to reveal pipes, musical instruments, horse measurers and drinking instruments.

Glass dealer, Brian Watson has an American lip decanter, c 1835 produced fo dispensing whisky or gin in saloons and bars. These were immortalised in Westerns where the bottle is slid across the counter for the drinker to help themselves. It is 19cm tall and priced at £495. Continuing the American theme, Nicholas Daly sells vintage books including a first UK edition of The Natural by B. Malamud in near perfect dust jacket, on which the iconic film starring Robert Redford was based. The UK edition has the "baseball glossary" for the uninitiated market.

Small pieces always sell well at the fair, especially as it is positioned in the run up to Christmas. One dealer who sells very stylish presents for both men and women is Smith and Robinson. Recent stock includes a group of Vilac prototype toys c 1965 in wood and lacquer with original matching wheels. They include a Bugatti, an American Cord and a Harley Davidson motorcycle. They also have a ladies Gladstone bag, c1925, made from Python with perfectly matched skins.

Antique jewellery is well represented at the fair by a number of jewellery dealers. Wimpole Antiques has an enamel and diamond ladybird pin by Tiffany from the mid 20th century. John Joseph has several Edwardian and Art Deco pendants and Bond Street based Moira is selling a Victorian star brooch, mounted in silver-upon-gold, set with old-cut diamonds, c.1880 to 1890.

The Winter fair has long been known as a good place to discover interesting period furniture. Amongst this year’s line up, W R Harvey has an important George I Period Burr Walnut Bureau Bookcase, c.1720. The mirrored doors open to reveal an interior
fitted with drawers, shaped pigeon holes, shelves and folio stands, the bureau flap opening to show further small drawers and pigeon holes. The sides are cross-banded and the whole piece is elaborately inlaid with chevron or feather banding. It is on sale
for £75,000. To accompany this, Millington Adams has a pair of George I burr walnut side chairs from a private collection on the Isle of Wight, they are dated c.1725 and priced at £65,000. Tim Saltwell brings an early Victorian, English, Walnut, Maple and Tulipwood Ladies bureau of small proportions, in the French taste, c 1840. It came from the estate sale of the Collection of The Late Lord Michelham, 1926. David Bedale has a rare Queen Anne walnut child’s highchair dated 1710, a pair of early 19th mahogany window seats c.1825 and a Regency pen work music stand c.1820. Bath based furniture dealer, Freshfords brings a mid 19th century walnut marble-top specimen table attributable to the Royal furniture makers Holland & Sons, c1850. Made in the Renaissance style, the table has the exact brass mouldings, carvings and form as a table that, by repute, was exhibited at the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park in 1851. Holland & Sons supplied much of the important furniture for Osborne House, Queen Victoria's house on the Isle of Wight.

Fine art is well represented at the fair and even features a picture of Olympia. London-based dealer, Kay Michie has a Dame Laura Knight RA (1877-1970) drawing at 14" x 10" . The circus was a popular subject for her and this is her favourite clown, Joe Craston, standing on the balcony of the Grand Hall at Olympia. Watercolour specialist, Guy Peppiatt brings a JMW Turner RA watercolour over pencil on sale for £19,500 of Lago di Agnao seen from Astroni, Italy. This is a good example of Turner’s early work, dating from c.1794-95 when he was working for Dr.Thomas Munro at his academy. Students were encouraged to copy works in his collection including work by John Robert Cozens which this work is based on. Turner’s version of this view is more finished, in full watercolour and with more detail with the addition of a boat and figure in the foreground. Willow Gallery has a number of 20th century oil paintings by French artists such as Jean Dufy (1888 – 1964), “Place du Tertre” and Bernard Buffet (1928 – 1999) “Pensées dans un vase blanc”. Fellow west end gallery, Mark Mitchell has a still life by Ludovic Rodo [Ludovic-Rodolphe Pissarro] (1878-1952), the fourth son of the Impressionist Camille Pissarro. This work, however, shows no sign of his impressionist father.

Visitors and potential buyers are reassured by the strict ‘vetting’ process that sees 100 experts across all the categories inspect every single piece at the fair before it opens to the public.

For more information:
Tickets: 44 (0)871.620.7062

Nearest tube: Olympia Station is served by London Underground (District Line), Silverlink Metro and Southern. Olympia is not in the congestion charging zone

Show Hours:
Collectors’ Preview - Monday 14th 4pm-9pm
Tuesday 15th - Thursday 17th 11am – 8pm
Friday 18th – Saturday 19th 11am – 7pm
Sunday 20th 11am – 5pm

The Winter Fine Art & Antiques Fair supports National Antiques Week which runs from the 14th – 22nd of November. for