This month marks the 10th anniversary of the LAPADA Art and Antiques Fair in Berkeley Square, with more than 100 exhibitors showcasing some of the best pieces in the country.
Catering for everyone from established collectors to first-time buyers, the event – from September 14-19 – features its own blend of artistry and eclecticism.
Highlights include Nocturne Matinale, a handwoven tapestry by Sonia Delaunay from Didier Marien of Boccara Gallery and a rare David Hockney lithograph, Ann Combing Her Hair from John Iddon Fine Art. Elsewhere, 18th- and 19th-century furniture specialists Butchoff Antiques will showcase a boulle marquetry gueridon featuring tortoiseshell inlay and gilt bronze mounts.
We caught up with Freya Simms, the new chief executive of LAPADA, to chat about the event
How are collectors’ appetites for art fairs?
Fairs remain a wonderful vehicle for collectors and buyers to gain an understanding of market trends, availability of works of art and, most importantly, be inspired into new collecting. They are a market place where you can discover an extraordinarily rich mix of stock in one place and this is particularly appealing in an increasingly time poor world.
The market and tastes are changing with many new and younger collectors, as well as interior designers, embracing a more eclectic look – mixing styles and periods with great aplomb.
Look out for LASSCO, 8 Holland Street, Godson and Coles, Hatchwell Antiques, Victoria Beckham and Butchoff for inspiration – they all mix periods and disciplines to commercial and aesthetic effect.
This direction makes me increasingly optimistic. In addition, for anyone concerned with waste, recycling and sustainability – then antiques, reclamation and the secondary market are the only way to go!
Are you a collector, if so, of what?
I’m not sure I could be branded as a collector in the traditional sense of the word, but I have acquired some gorgeous pieces at LAPADA, Battersea Decorative Arts Fair, Olympia and Masterpiece over the years.
My first passion is illustrated books, as I am a bit of a bookworm and studied English literature. My dream is to have my own library. I have some wonderful first editions illustrated by Arthur Rackham, Rex Whistler and even Margaret Atwood.
What I love about illustrated books is the scale and intimacy of the artwork, as well as the artist’s interpretation of the text.
An artist I discovered over 10 years ago is Su Blackwell who creates exquisite works of art out of the pages of a book – represented by Long & Ryle.
I also love works on paper – particularly from the Grand Tour and have some lovely drawings of buildings and ancient sculpture I bought from dealers such as Ted Few in London and the early drawing specialist Hill-Stone, based in Massachusetts.
Contemporary Japanese prints are another favourite.
How can you inspire the next generation?
We need to make sure we have a thrilling line up of exhibitors that curate and display their stock in way that both informs and is enjoyable and exciting to live with.
We also need an engaging programme of events that does not dumb down art and antiques but enriches and educates.
We also need to provide a lively destination open at sociable hours to suit all our visitors.