BADA sells majority stake in Fair

The BADA Fair
A visitor to The BADA Fair. Credit: Robin Boot

The British Antique Dealers’ Association (BADA) has sold its majority stake in its annual art and antiques event, the BADA Fair, to event specialists Thomas Woodham-Smith and Harry van der Hoorn, founders of the world-renowned Masterpiece event in Chelsea.

The buyers said they plan to “bring a fresh approach” to the event and make it “an unmissable event in London”.

Thomas Woodham-Smith
Thomas Woodham-Smith

Dealer, art advisor and a former director at Mallams, Woodham-Smith said, “The ordinary is not acceptable. We have big plans and every aspect of the fair will be examined and weighed for its contribution. Having been a dealer all my career, the exhibitors are at the forefront of my mind. It is crucial that we keep the costs down and give everyone value for money.”

As owner of the prestigious art fair building company Stabilo, Harry van der Hoorn also brings a wealth of experience to the event, adding; “I have lived and breathed art fairs all my life.

“This is for me a challenging and thrilling opportunity to design and help build a fair that is really relevant to our time. Our motto is excellence without excess.”

The new look event, which will be named the Open Art Fair, will include a larger presence of exhibitors from the wider art and antiques community, in addition to participating members.

BADA Chairman Michael Cohen
BADA Chairman Michael Cohen

Kaye Michie, current Chairman of the BADA fair said; “BADA fair is a much loved and important art and antiques event. The fair has been one of the highlights of London’s spring calendar for over 25 years.

This next chapter in the fair’s story is exciting both for members, our exhibitors and our loyal buyers, collectors and visitors. This partnership, heralds an exciting future for members and will help take the event to the next level.”

Members will receive a discount of up to £1,750 off their stand. Vetting at the fair will continue to be undertaken by the association  and it will be promoted on the frontage of the fair. The association will also have a Board member and retain a 20% stake in the fair.

Visitors to the BADA Fair
BADA Fair. Credit: Rob Irving

The Association said the funds raised by the sale will be used to invest in expanding to attract a greater international audience as well as in developing the BADA Collection events.

BADA Chairman Michael Cohen outlined the benefits of the deal to members, saying; “the BADA fair is respected as one of the best art and antiques events, attracting a loyal and knowledgeable audience to the King’s Road every March.

“This partnership protects BADA members, will help raise the profile of the fair to an international audience and enable BADA to expand the range of services we offer our members, particularly investing in”


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