As the Coronavirus continues to spread across the UK, auctions, antique fairs and art events are having to adapt to the challenging and fast-changing conditions, with many scheduled events facing postponement or cancellation.
UK Auctions and Coronavirus
Many UK auction houses are currently open for business, with both auctions and valuation days taking place. However, sale rooms across the UK have said that they are closely watching the situation, following government guidelines and taking the necessary precautions to keep their staff and customers safe by offering hand wipes and sanitisers. Some auction houses are providing such services as video calls to customers who wish to inspect items remotely.
Auction houses are also using social media to keep customers advised of their ongoing plans. Many have been using Twitter to provide updates.
Bonhams issued a COVID-19 statement on their social media platforms that read:
‘Our clients can still participate in auctions – in the room, by phone, via an absentee bid, or using Bonhams.com. Salerooms will remain open for viewings and auctions will continue. All other non-essential events are cancelled globally until April 15th.’
While postponing its sales calendar for the Americas and Europe, Christie’s is currently due to continue its ‘Prints & Multiples’ sale on March 18 and ‘Cheveley House, Berkshire and Five Private Collections’ on March 19, with both taking place in London.
Other auction houses on Twitter:
- Chiswick Auctions in London tweeted: ‘Our Old Masters and British & European Fine Art sales are going ahead today, from 12pm GMT. If you wish to bid from the comfort of your own home, please register with our online bidding platform, Chiswick Live – ‘ bit.ly/3d7ORI8
- Ewbanks in Surrey tweeted that it saleroom was remaining opening for valuations and viewings, with auctions continuing as planned with government guidelines. It said: ‘There are many ways you can take part in our auctions, in addition to being in the room, with on line catalogues, live bidding on line at Ewbank’s Live without additional surcharges, and through absentee commission bidding on your account on our website. ‘ ewbankauctions.co.uk
- Fieldings Auctions in the West Midlands tweeted: ‘We’re OPEN and ready for our Tuesday free Valuation Day – doors open from 10am-4pm‘
- Cotswolds-based auctioneers Mallams tweeted: ‘Our House & Garden Sale continues today at 11. The focus of today’s sale is lighting, garden ornaments & architectural elements.‘
- James Warren auctioneers in Lancashire tweeted: ‘At this point we’re still planning on holding this weeks auction and the foreseeable sales with the exception of the vinyl sale (25th March) which has been postponed until further…’
UK Antique & Art Fairs
The calendar of antique and art fairs due to take place in the UK in the coming weeks looks to be severely disrupted by the outbreak. An increasing number of organisers are now taking the decision to postpone events with the hope of rescheduling at a later date.
The latest postponements include:
Art & Antiques for Everyone due to take place at the NEC on April 2 to 5. Dan Leyland, Show Director, said, “Many of our dealers and visitors are in the high risk category due to their age and we therefore felt that the appetite for the Fair was greatly diminished. In addition we were at the point when financial commitments had to be made by both our exhibitors and ourselves. When everything was considered this was the obvious solution. Naturally we are disappointed but are looking forward to working with our dealers towards a successful Summer event this July”.
Chelsea Antiques Fair has also been cancelled. It was set to run from March 18 to 20. Organisers Penman Fairs commented, “This fair is sadly cancelled due to Covid-19. Apologies to those who were planning to visit, but we have a March 2021 date reserved.”
At the time of publication, The Open Art Fair at Duke of York Square in London, was still set to open on March 18 until 24. A statement on the event’s website read: ‘We take the health of our visitors and exhibitors seriously, and are following government guidelines on how to keep our event safe. We are providing hand sanitisers throughout the fair, as well as keeping the temperature in the tent cool. Visitors are encouraged to remain vigilant of any symptoms and not come to the fair if they have a temperature, a new continuous cough or feel unwell.‘
In Scotland, The Edinburgh Premier Fair, run by the Antiquarian Booksellers Association (ABA) & Provincial Booksellers Fairs Association (PBFA), has cancelled its event due to take place on March 20-21.
At events abroad, TEFAF Maastricht was brought to a close four days early, while Paris’s annual works on paper fair, Salon Du Dessin, has been postponed until May.
Grandmas Attic Bournemouth Pavilion
Bournemouth, BH1 2BU
March 21-22, 2020
Cancelled – next Bournemouth event planned for October 10 & 11, 2020
Linlithgow Antiques Fair
Linlithgow Academy, Braehead Road, Linlithgow, West Lothian EH49 6EH
March 21, 2020
Art & Antiques for Everyone, NEC – Spring Edition
2-5 April 2020
The Cotswolds Decorative Antiques & Art Fair
CancelledThe Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair
May 14-18, 2020
CancelledPetworth Park Antiques & Fine Art Fair
Revised date – September 11-13