Was Cheltenham a barometer of the antiques trade today?  Well clocks were certainly in demand and although a mixed result overall, there were a number of really good sales, at The Autumn Antiques and Fine Art Fair held in association with LAPADA at The Centaur, Cheltenham Racecourse in Gloucestershire  on 27th-30th November 2008, including a £35,000 Lowry drawing from Neptune Fine Art to a new client from Derby.

“It has been a lovely show and I have had a good fair” Mark Seabrook
“Good quality stock is still selling” Chris Daines, Woodward Antique Clocks
“One man returned to the fair, travelling 1½ hours from Wales to come back and buy…” Michael Emeny, Books
“Considering the economic climate we were pleasantly surprised with results,” Stephen Kalms
“The right sort of people who we ought to be talking to are coming through the door” Rosey Ford of Serendipity
Local to Cheltenham, Woodward Antique Clocks had a good fair selling a number of clocks including an English Regency bracket clock in the region of £8,000.   “Good quality stock is still selling”, says Chris Daines.  They met new clients ranging from fairly local to as far as Cardiff, probably all in a 60 mile radius.  The fair also worked for Carlton Clocks who sold a selection of clocks and barometers to new clients.
Ashleigh House Fine Art & Antiques and Angelika CJ Friebe both sold to customers who returned to visit them having seen pictures in which they were interested last year. Amongst Angelika’s sales was her most expensive piece – a 1613 Besler artichoke copper engraving for £3,600 to a Bristol based couple, as well as three citrus fruit copper engravings to a local lady from Winchcombe, a new customer, for £3,000.
Michael Emeny from Books Illustrated said: “We had a promising first day selling 2 pictures and 2 bronzes.”  One of the pictures was an original illustration of battleships for the ‘Modern Book for Boys’ from the 1940s by William McDowell which sold to a new customer.  One man returned to the fair, travelling 1.5 hours from Wales to come back and buy a 1994 Christmas card design of ice skaters by Angel Dominguez.   “Just before the fair closed we also sold an Arthur Rackham, which is going to Canada, so we are very pleased.”
Melody Antiques sold a Shropshire George III mahogany dresser, c 1760, on the opening day, to a couple from Shropshire (new customers) for £3,200.  They also sold an extremely unusual George I ash veneered small chest of drawers, c 1710, to an American lady for around £5,000.  “I’m back for the 4th time.  It was hard work but the fair worked for us,” said Mike Melody.
Cambridgeshire furniture dealer, Mark Seabrook reported that he sold a small oak side or child’s table, for £3,200.  “I could have sold it twice, however, it went to a couple from Worcester who rediscovered me after 10 years!”  He also sold three good wall carvings and some early kitchenalia.
Stablegate Antiques from Kent sold a Regency dining table to new clients from South Wales in the region of £6,500 – “That is the 5th dining table we have sold at this fair in 5 years”, said Michael Giuntini. Amongst other items they sold were a pedestal Victorian desk, a military coffer and a George II chair.  Another happy exhibitor was Sue Killinger who said, “It was a very successful fair for me, as was last year.  I sold across the board, but certainly more furniture.”  Amongst Guy Dennler Antiques’ sales was a Regency rosewood sofa table for £4,000.
London silver dealer Jeffrey Neal had a good fair meeting a variety of new clients and amongst the sales were a pair of large silver pheasants.  First time Cheltenham fair exhibitor from the London Silver Vaults, Stephen Kalms Antiques were delighted to sell a selection of silver pieces to a charming American.  “Considering the economic climate we were pleasantly surprised with results,” said Stephen Kalms.
Tulips were obviously on the mind of another American, who lives near Oxford.  She bought a couple of signed limited edition original lithographs of tulips by RHS gold medallist Annika Silander-Hökerberg from Ingrid Nilson and a large Turkish contemporary hand woven and hand painted patchwork made up of kelims, depicting tulips, for around £2,000 from M&N Oriental Rugs.  Martin Melman said, “We were generally pleased with the show considering the climate.  We made some good new contacts and sold several pieces, including a Tabriz and hand painted Persian shells.” 
13 year old Thomas Jennings persuaded his grandparents to bring him to the fair and bought his first artwork by Jasper Johns from Black Ink, instead of staying at home to do his homework!  The grandparents bought from Black Ink too.
“No-one really knew what to expect with all the gloom and doom in the media about the credit crunch,” said organiser Ingrid Nilson of The Antiques Dealers Fair Limited. “We were pleasantly surprised, however, people are definitely price conscious.  Although some exhibitors saw much better sales than others, a number of dealers benefitted from pretty good sales.  This Cheltenham fair has become known for bringing in new customers, as we not only market the fair regionally, but nationally and internationally.  Visitors seem to have come from quite far afield.”
Source: Gail McGuffie PR                   

Related Article: The Autumn Antiques and Fine Art Fair at Cheltenham