‘We’re committed to supporting the trade as a whole,’ says Marco Forgione, CEO of the British Antique Dealers’ Association (BADA), ‘and there is a vital need to help the next generation of specialists establish a firm footing.’ As an association fair, BADA’s flagship event, which returns to Duke of York Square, London from 14–20 March, has an inherent responsibility to its exhibitors and the future of their trade – more so, perhaps, than those fairs run by commercial events companies. It is little wonder, then, that of the 100 dealers bringing art, design, and antiques to the fair this year, some seven are new BADA members.
One of these is Horton London, which will be bringing a small oil on panel by Toulouse-Lautrec to the fair. This verdant sketch was painted by the young artist at his mother’s estate, the Château Malromé near Bordeaux, shortly after she had acquired it in 1883. Another newcomer is the Peartree Collection, a gallery established in 2015 and specialising in Arts and Crafts silver and turn-of-the-century decorative arts. Its founder Anthony Bernbaum is a former president of the Archibald Knox Society, and appropriately enough brings an array of captivating pieces by the Manx designer to the fair. Among these is one of only four known examples of an elegantly raised clock, this one from 1903, its dial snugly set in a cube of silver in homage to the geometry of Celtic crosses; a clock of this design sold at Sotheby’s New York in 2015 for $125,000. ‘It is a huge challenge to have items of the quality and provenance appropriate to the BADA Fair,’ says Bernbaum, ‘and I am looking forward to meeting that challenge.’
As ever, enthusiasts of British art will have plenty to covet. Drawings specialist Guy Peppiatt Fine Art exhibits 18th- and 19th-century works on paper by Constable, Paul Sandby and Thomas Rowlandson, among others. A Game of Cribbage (1818), a work in pen, ink and watercolour by Rowlandson, is one of the circular compositions that the artist favoured for gaming or sporting subjects, and may have been commissioned for a screen for the Brighton Pavilion by the Prince Regent; it certainly captures the flagrant (and flirtatious) mischief of Regency England. Among the later British works at Trinity House Paintings, meanwhile, are a dramatic Malvern landscape by Laura Knight and a drawing by L.S. Lowry showing a cavernous construction site in central Manchester in 1929.
Other disciplines represented include furniture, jewellery, and Asian art, the last courtesy of Gibson Antiques and Max Rutherston. In lieu of a loan exhibition, this year the fair is marking the 100th anniversary of BADA through a partnership with the designers Joanna Wood and Paolo Moschino. The contemporary living spaces that they have created will be adorned with works provided by exhibitors – a manifesto, as it were, for the current health and exciting future of collecting. As ever, the fair promises to be ‘a genuinely remarkable spectacle’, says Forgione. ‘Around each corner and in every cabinet you can find exceptional objects.’
BADA Fair is at Duke of York Square, London, from 14–20 March.
From the March issue of Apollo. Preview and subscribe here.