The world has changed quite a lot since 1989 when the first Bath Decorative Antiques Fair took place at the Pavilion in Bath and fashion has oscillated with the advent of CMid20th design, Industrial Chic, Swedish painted furniture and now the return of some of the staples of the 90s – French faux bamboo and lacquer furniture, marble top consoles and buffets in fruitwood, big farm tables, brass and iron baker’s racks and confit pots et al and who knew that walking canes could be so cool?
The event is now a hybrid of part traditional decorative antiques and part super chic metropolitan style with exquisite Folk Art rubbing shoulders with Falcon leather chairs, period portraits with C20th Modern & Contemporary Art and all convening with ‘decorative’ as the headline and quality and rarity as the key at this madly busy and fun event.
Following the hugely successful launch of the companion Bruton Decorative Antiques Fair in October 2016, there is even more pressure on Bath to accommodate a burgeoning waiting list and everyone is wondering if there will be two Bath Fairs in 2017?
Around 45 exhibitors attend the event and a good number of those dealers do not exhibit at any comparable fairs and keep stock back for Bath. Such is the popularity of this unique event that a core group of exhibitors return year on year, some going right back to the very first fair! Returning exhibitors announced so far in 2017 include No 1 Lewes, Chris Holmes Decorative Antiques, Decorative & Modern, John Shepherd & Erna Hiscock, Life England, Linda North, Not Wanted on Voyage, Scandinavian by Design, Wharton Decorative Antiques, Elham Antiques, Appledore Antiques, Winfield Canes, John Wiseman Reclamation & Salvage Antiques, Waterfall Antiques, William Morris Antiques, Guy Dennler Antiques, Life England, Michael Holt Antiques, Paul Burnett Decorative Antiques, Larkhall Fine & Decorative Art, Paul Drewett and Candice Horley C20th Glamour.
Names making a debut in 2017 released so far are Elizabeth Lee Interiors, Frome, Somerset, Mark Blower, The Channel Islands, Marchand Antiques, Arundel, Sussex, The Swedish Room, Hungerford, Berkshire and La Place Antiques, Arundel, Sussex.
Always a star attraction at Bath and flying the flag for traditional Folk Art, Naive Art, English pottery and country furniture will be Devon based Appledore Antiques who has recently teamed up with Winfield Antique Canes who have a particular flair for reinventing how we look at walking canes with their arresting display using artist’s lay figure hands to hold the canes against a black velvet wall . Another favourite exhibitor dealing in traditional Folk Art will be Erna Hiscock and John Shepherd.
At the other end of the spectrum C20th Mid Century design will be well represented by Scandinavian by Design, Not Wanted on Voyage and Decorative & Modern. French and Swedish decorative antiques will be on show from The Swedish Room, La Place Antiques and No1 Lewes. Chris Holmes Antiques and Elham Antiques also deal in French painted furniture, garden antiques and large scale painted industrial pieces. Contemporary artist Chloe Holt, partner of Chris Holmes will be showing her very popular abstract flower paintings after a sell out show at Bath in 2016.
Bath Decorative Antiques Fair is known as a source for garden antiques and this year Linda North, Violet Grey Vintage Garden and Elizabeth Lee Interiors will be enticing visitors with French, Italian and English garden furniture, jardinières and urns. Trends from last year show that decorators are using garden pieces for interior installations seeking distressed metal tables and chairs for accent pieces. Another trend in 2016 for decorators was architectural reclamation with huge French doors and fire surrounds and decorative ironwork being snapped up from Wharton Antiques and John Wiseman Antiques.
The Fair is held in the dearly loved Pavilion, part of the landscape in Bath and full of character, a bit like the fair, and located a couple of minutes walk from the buzz of the Georgian City of Bath with all its many acclaimed restaurants and bars.
For more images from our exhibitors see our Gallery section which will be updated in the run up to the fair.