Antiques News & Fairs Previews
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ANF News

An Eye on the Calendar - Mary Claire Boyd - Olympia Art & Antiques Fair

Continuing our feature An Eye on the Calendar we turn to the big summer flagship event - The Art & Antiques Fair - Olympia which was due to take place 18-28 June 2020 and we talk to Mary Claire Boyd,long time Show Director who knows a thing or two about organising high profile events! 

Summer Olympia was traditionally the event to give regional antiques dealers their chance to exhibit in the capital with all the potential it offered for new and exciting clients. It is the capital's longest running vetted art & antiques fair and would have opened its doors for the 48th time in 2020.

In the meantime, the focus is turning to the Winter Art & Antiques Fair 3 – 8 November (Private Preview 2 November), which looks set to be the leading prestigious Art and Antiques Fair to run in the capital for the remainder of 2020.  Plans are being drawn up to ensure it is a safe and welcoming environment for both visitors and exhibitors alike. Summer Olympia 2021 dates are 22-28 June.

Exhibitors across the board are keen to get back to work and are anticipating the Winter Olympia Art & Antiques Fair.  

Hansord: "At this time of year it is usually hectic preparing for my major fair of the year at Olympia, it will be greatly missed by us all and we are looking forward to getting back to normal."

Jeroen Markies of Jeroen Markies Art Deco:  "I am looking forward to getting back into action at the Winter Olympia Fair, it will have been too long without doing business at fairs and this event has always been much anticipated, this year more so than ever."


Antiques News & Fairs - Art & Antiques Fair Olympia

 Mary Claire Boyd

 

ANF:  There is no denying or escaping the fact that fair organisers and the dealers who exhibit, particularly those on the circuit, have been hit very hard in the current crisis.  What are your thoughts and plans for when we come out the other side?

MCB: It has been a difficult time for everyone and there are no simple solutions especially when so much of what we are dealing with is unknown.  Having said that we are very much about planning for the future and continuing to provide an affordable and strong selling platform for the dealer community and ensure we continue to attract new clients for them. 

In the short term we are focusing on our Winter Fair which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year and runs from 2 – 8 November. We are putting plans in place to make sure it is a welcome and safe environment for all involved.

The 48th Art & Antiques Fair Olympia should have been running at this time and it is much missed by all the exhibitors, not only from a business perspective but also it is one of the focal points in the year when everyone comes together does business, socialises and enjoys one another’s company.  For visitors too they know many of the exhibitors have saved stock for this Fair and they look forward with anticipation to finding something to delight and treasure. Plans are already taking shape for the 2021 edition.


Antiques News & Fairs - An Eye on the Calendar Summer Olympia


A busy start to Summer Olympia 2019


ANF: With the postponement of The Art & Antiques Fair Olympia what plans do you have to keep engaged with your exhibitors?

MCB: Following the postponement of the Fair we have kept in regular contact with our exhibitors via newsletters, telephone calls etc and also kept in contact with our loyal visitors on our database. During the actual time when the fair would have been running we will have additional editorial content on our social channels, as well as encouraging visitors to look at the exhibitor list to make contact directly.

ANF: The next event for Clarion is Winter Olympia. The spacious historic venue is an obvious asset to comply with social distancing, what plans do you have to adapt this important event for Government guidelines?

MCB: As you can imagine we are having lots of discussions to see what we need to put in place to ensure it is a safe environment for not only our exhibitors and visitors but also for all the contractors and those working behind the scenes.  At this stage nothing has been confirmed as the parameters are still changing but the planning is covering all aspects.  As you say we are fortunate to be working with a large venue such as Olympia not only that but we also have the benefit of knowledge and support from other operational teams within Clarion Events. 


Antiques News & Fairs - An Eye on the Calendar Summer Olympia


Just one of many unusual objects at Summer Olympia 2019

ANF: Do you have anything special planned to celebrate your return?

MCB: We are just delighted to be back organising the Fair and to be able to celebrate the 30th anniversary. We are looking at ways in which we can mark the occasion but more importantly we want to provide a strong trading platform for the exhibitors.

ANF:  What do you imagine will be the long term impact on the fairs industry when we come through this crisis?

MCB:  In my opinion Fairs will continue to play an important part in the trading cycle of the dealer community as there is nothing that can replace the face to face conversation and seeing a piece for real. In particular, for those dealers without premises, they meet new clients and also for visitors new to the world of art and antiques they give an opportunity to learn direct from experts, see and handle a wide variety of pieces in one place, and buy with confidence from a vetted Fair.

However I think return on investment will be key for the exhibitors and the costs to participate will be scrutinised with a concentration on those events which deliver for them.

ANF: From our observation here at ANF there has been an undimmed demand for buying antiques throughout the lockdown with dealers busy across the UK.  What have you heard from your exhibitors?

MCB:  I would agree with you, there are some who have maintained a good level of business although there have been complications with shipping abroad etc. Whereas for others it has not been such an easy time with a distinct lack of business but it seems many have used the time productively to update websites, sort stock, increase social media activities and a myriad of things that tend to be put off until a rainy day. 


Antiques News & Fairs - An Eye on  the Calendar Summer Olympia


Regular exhibitor South Africa based The Old Corkscrew

Victorian novelty parcel silver gilt cat pepper marked for London 1875 by Robert Hennell in a later presentation box by N. Bloom & Son.

Stamped with a British registered design lozenge for 20 August 1875. POA


ANF:  Antiques dealers are a hardy bunch, and our feedback is that as a whole they cannot wait to get back to work – what are you hearing from your exhibitor clients during the crisis?  How are they surviving without the fairs taking place?

MCB: I think there is a genuine appetite to get back to business at fairs, not only because it’s how they do a lot of their business but also it is a way of life – as it is for us all. We miss that interaction and the excitement of the opening day, and the end of term feeling when it’s all over. 

Although for some there is a nervousness due to their own personal circumstances which is understandable. Whatever the individual circumstance I get a sense that the majority are making the most of this time either by working on a particular aspect of their business or enjoying a change of focus.


Antiques News & Fairs - An Eye on the Calendar Summer Olympia

Sarah Colgrave Fine Art

 Robert Duckworth Greenham(1906-1976) - The Thames at Marlow Signed with initials and dated ‘66. Oil on canvas. PO


ANF:  We usually ask our correspondents what they do to relax from their busy schedule but maybe we can ask how you spend your time during lockdown?

MCB:  It’s been different that’s for sure!  With everyone working from home there has been lots of time spent on Skype and Zoom calls – some things are quicker and some take longer as there are no quick conversations across the desk.

However, I feel very fortunate that we live in a small village in Dorset with a garden and lovely walking routes nearby. For me, spending as much time as possible outside has been a bonus especially with the good weather – although I can’t say the garden is as immaculate as it should be!  I also enjoy walking our dog – it’s a great way to sign off the end of the working day. I have really enjoyed going on the same route and seeing the seasons progress. And of course reading, good food and great wine!



 



News & Fairs Previews

An Eye on the Calendar - Mary Claire Boyd - Olympia Art & Antiques Fair

Continuing our feature An Eye on the Calendar we turn to the big summer flagship event - The Art & Antiques Fair - Olympia which was due to take place 18-28 June 2020 and we talk to Mary Claire Boyd,long time Show Director who knows a thing or two about organising high profile events! 

Summer Olympia was traditionally the event to give regional antiques dealers their chance to exhibit in the capital with all the potential it offered for new and exciting clients. It is the capital's longest running vetted art & antiques fair and would have opened its doors for the 48th time in 2020.

In the meantime, the focus is turning to the Winter Art & Antiques Fair 3 – 8 November (Private Preview 2 November), which looks set to be the leading prestigious Art and Antiques Fair to run in the capital for the remainder of 2020.  Plans are being drawn up to ensure it is a safe and welcoming environment for both visitors and exhibitors alike. Summer Olympia 2021 dates are 22-28 June.

Exhibitors across the board are keen to get back to work and are anticipating the Winter Olympia Art & Antiques Fair.  

Hansord: "At this time of year it is usually hectic preparing for my major fair of the year at Olympia, it will be greatly missed by us all and we are looking forward to getting back to normal."

Jeroen Markies of Jeroen Markies Art Deco:  "I am looking forward to getting back into action at the Winter Olympia Fair, it will have been too long without doing business at fairs and this event has always been much anticipated, this year more so than ever."


Antiques News & Fairs - Art & Antiques Fair Olympia

 Mary Claire Boyd

 

ANF:  There is no denying or escaping the fact that fair organisers and the dealers who exhibit, particularly those on the circuit, have been hit very hard in the current crisis.  What are your thoughts and plans for when we come out the other side?

MCB: It has been a difficult time for everyone and there are no simple solutions especially when so much of what we are dealing with is unknown.  Having said that we are very much about planning for the future and continuing to provide an affordable and strong selling platform for the dealer community and ensure we continue to attract new clients for them. 

In the short term we are focusing on our Winter Fair which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year and runs from 2 – 8 November. We are putting plans in place to make sure it is a welcome and safe environment for all involved.

The 48th Art & Antiques Fair Olympia should have been running at this time and it is much missed by all the exhibitors, not only from a business perspective but also it is one of the focal points in the year when everyone comes together does business, socialises and enjoys one another’s company.  For visitors too they know many of the exhibitors have saved stock for this Fair and they look forward with anticipation to finding something to delight and treasure. Plans are already taking shape for the 2021 edition.


Antiques News & Fairs - An Eye on the Calendar Summer Olympia


A busy start to Summer Olympia 2019


ANF: With the postponement of The Art & Antiques Fair Olympia what plans do you have to keep engaged with your exhibitors?

MCB: Following the postponement of the Fair we have kept in regular contact with our exhibitors via newsletters, telephone calls etc and also kept in contact with our loyal visitors on our database. During the actual time when the fair would have been running we will have additional editorial content on our social channels, as well as encouraging visitors to look at the exhibitor list to make contact directly.

ANF: The next event for Clarion is Winter Olympia. The spacious historic venue is an obvious asset to comply with social distancing, what plans do you have to adapt this important event for Government guidelines?

MCB: As you can imagine we are having lots of discussions to see what we need to put in place to ensure it is a safe environment for not only our exhibitors and visitors but also for all the contractors and those working behind the scenes.  At this stage nothing has been confirmed as the parameters are still changing but the planning is covering all aspects.  As you say we are fortunate to be working with a large venue such as Olympia not only that but we also have the benefit of knowledge and support from other operational teams within Clarion Events. 


Antiques News & Fairs - An Eye on the Calendar Summer Olympia


Just one of many unusual objects at Summer Olympia 2019

ANF: Do you have anything special planned to celebrate your return?

MCB: We are just delighted to be back organising the Fair and to be able to celebrate the 30th anniversary. We are looking at ways in which we can mark the occasion but more importantly we want to provide a strong trading platform for the exhibitors.

ANF:  What do you imagine will be the long term impact on the fairs industry when we come through this crisis?

MCB:  In my opinion Fairs will continue to play an important part in the trading cycle of the dealer community as there is nothing that can replace the face to face conversation and seeing a piece for real. In particular, for those dealers without premises, they meet new clients and also for visitors new to the world of art and antiques they give an opportunity to learn direct from experts, see and handle a wide variety of pieces in one place, and buy with confidence from a vetted Fair.

However I think return on investment will be key for the exhibitors and the costs to participate will be scrutinised with a concentration on those events which deliver for them.

ANF: From our observation here at ANF there has been an undimmed demand for buying antiques throughout the lockdown with dealers busy across the UK.  What have you heard from your exhibitors?

MCB:  I would agree with you, there are some who have maintained a good level of business although there have been complications with shipping abroad etc. Whereas for others it has not been such an easy time with a distinct lack of business but it seems many have used the time productively to update websites, sort stock, increase social media activities and a myriad of things that tend to be put off until a rainy day. 


Antiques News & Fairs - An Eye on  the Calendar Summer Olympia


Regular exhibitor South Africa based The Old Corkscrew

Victorian novelty parcel silver gilt cat pepper marked for London 1875 by Robert Hennell in a later presentation box by N. Bloom & Son.

Stamped with a British registered design lozenge for 20 August 1875. POA


ANF:  Antiques dealers are a hardy bunch, and our feedback is that as a whole they cannot wait to get back to work – what are you hearing from your exhibitor clients during the crisis?  How are they surviving without the fairs taking place?

MCB: I think there is a genuine appetite to get back to business at fairs, not only because it’s how they do a lot of their business but also it is a way of life – as it is for us all. We miss that interaction and the excitement of the opening day, and the end of term feeling when it’s all over. 

Although for some there is a nervousness due to their own personal circumstances which is understandable. Whatever the individual circumstance I get a sense that the majority are making the most of this time either by working on a particular aspect of their business or enjoying a change of focus.


Antiques News & Fairs - An Eye on the Calendar Summer Olympia

Sarah Colgrave Fine Art

 Robert Duckworth Greenham(1906-1976) - The Thames at Marlow Signed with initials and dated ‘66. Oil on canvas. PO


ANF:  We usually ask our correspondents what they do to relax from their busy schedule but maybe we can ask how you spend your time during lockdown?

MCB:  It’s been different that’s for sure!  With everyone working from home there has been lots of time spent on Skype and Zoom calls – some things are quicker and some take longer as there are no quick conversations across the desk.

However, I feel very fortunate that we live in a small village in Dorset with a garden and lovely walking routes nearby. For me, spending as much time as possible outside has been a bonus especially with the good weather – although I can’t say the garden is as immaculate as it should be!  I also enjoy walking our dog – it’s a great way to sign off the end of the working day. I have really enjoyed going on the same route and seeing the seasons progress. And of course reading, good food and great wine!