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Patricia Harvey - 31/12/1928 - 25/02/2021

 

IMG_3271

Patricia Harvey - 31/12/1928 - 25/02/2021

The death has been announced of Patricia Harvey, founder, with her husband Ralf, of the iconic and unique Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair, some 35 years ago.

Editor's note: A force and a visionary in our industry and she has left a lasting legacy with the Decorative Fair and in many ways she exemplified #girlpower at a time when such a concept did not exist in the antiques trade.  Her daughter Victoria continues the business in her name and has written the obituary.  

Victoria Harvey:  "Due to the pandemic the service was limited but my family would like to thank all the people who sent such kind messages honouring Patricia as a person, and for her achievements within the antiques world."

Other tributes are included below from Darren Hudson at The Decorative Fair on behalf of the team at Harvey Management and from Spencer Swaffer, both exhibitor and client at the fair for many years.

 

PATRICIA HARVEY OBITUARY  31/12/1928 - 25/02/2021

It is with great sadness we announce the death of Patricia Harvey.

Patricia had been a well known and respected figure worldwide within the antiques trade as the founder and organiser of The Decorative Antiques and Textiles Fair which she ran with her husband Ralph.

Patricia first started her antiques career cutting her teeth on stalls in Camden Passage, Portobello road and Bermondsey markets.  She was one of the first dealers to open a shop in Westbourne Grove which became a famous trading area.

In the 1970s she began running successful regular one day antiques fairs in London hotels and it was through a difficult and less than pleasant time participating as an exhibitor herself at a four day fair that she decided she could organise a longer event herself - only it would it would be different experience all round!

From that decision the Decorative Fair was born and she blazed a trail across the Antiques Fair establishment and circuits.  Encouraged to decorate their own stands and display stock in a non regimented manner, exhibitors were looked after. She introduced the ‘Harvey Boys’, mainly a collection of jobbing actors to help with the carrying and who were often highly entertaining.

Dogs were allowed, the food was good, the bloody Mary’s better and the happy, relaxed informal atmosphere showed. It helped to make it a pleasant buying experience for designers, dealers and the general public.

The fair continued to go from strength to strength and as it grew changed venues until it settled and established itself as a thrice yearly six day event in a marquee in Battersea park - another new experience.

Other fairs have attempted to follow adding the ‘decorative’ element but none have really managed to capture either her or the fair's unique presence and personality.

She fought so hard over the years as she and the fair were often frowned upon and misunderstood and she fought so bravely at the end of her life. 

She leaves a shop in Church St Marylebone which will continue to be run by her daughter Victoria, her other daughter Sarah and grandson Jonathan, who have a massive void to fill.

She was strong, quite fierce at times, but seriously kind, loving and loyal an amazing woman and she will be missed desperately by those who loved and knew her.

 

Darren Hudson, Director, the Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair:

Patricia was the founder of the Decorative Fair over 35 years ago. She was the first to create a Fair outside of the traditional box and introduce the idea of a Decorative Antiques Fair.  As a dealer she had shops in Westbourne Grove, Kings Road and finally moved to Church Street, Marylebone. 

A titan of the industry she was sometimes tough but always there when one needed help. She helped launch many dealers, myself included. She had a habit of commanding more than any other dealer, and getting it!

She was, of course, mother to Victoria and Sarah, and auntie to Melanie (on our front desk).

We have a lot to thank her for and she will be missed by all who knew her.

 

Spencer Swaffer

Patricia Harvey’s genius was to make antiques sexy, edgy and relevant again. Her fair gave dealers a stage on which to present their talent, and the great and the good of the interiors trade queued out of the door to buy.

At a time when antiques fairs were considered academic exhibitions of shone up seriousness, she gave us stands full of chippy paint, chrome, neon and linens from 19th century country houses to chic palazzos of Italy, with a bit of cheap tat thrown in 

So long as it had quality and charm nothing was out of bounds. Step out of line and she ruled like a stern headmistress in a classroom full of brats.  It was her fair and her rules, and quite right too.

She drove it on to become an unmissable date on the international antiques calendar, eventually eclipsing the fading old girl of Olympia to the West.

And her fair spawned at least two, perhaps even three, generations of leading lights in the business.  Above all, she understood that we are all in the fashion business, not the antiques business 

 

 

 



News & Fairs Previews

Patricia Harvey - 31/12/1928 - 25/02/2021

 

IMG_3271

Patricia Harvey - 31/12/1928 - 25/02/2021

The death has been announced of Patricia Harvey, founder, with her husband Ralf, of the iconic and unique Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair, some 35 years ago.

Editor's note: A force and a visionary in our industry and she has left a lasting legacy with the Decorative Fair and in many ways she exemplified #girlpower at a time when such a concept did not exist in the antiques trade.  Her daughter Victoria continues the business in her name and has written the obituary.  

Victoria Harvey:  "Due to the pandemic the service was limited but my family would like to thank all the people who sent such kind messages honouring Patricia as a person, and for her achievements within the antiques world."

Other tributes are included below from Darren Hudson at The Decorative Fair on behalf of the team at Harvey Management and from Spencer Swaffer, both exhibitor and client at the fair for many years.

 

PATRICIA HARVEY OBITUARY  31/12/1928 - 25/02/2021

It is with great sadness we announce the death of Patricia Harvey.

Patricia had been a well known and respected figure worldwide within the antiques trade as the founder and organiser of The Decorative Antiques and Textiles Fair which she ran with her husband Ralph.

Patricia first started her antiques career cutting her teeth on stalls in Camden Passage, Portobello road and Bermondsey markets.  She was one of the first dealers to open a shop in Westbourne Grove which became a famous trading area.

In the 1970s she began running successful regular one day antiques fairs in London hotels and it was through a difficult and less than pleasant time participating as an exhibitor herself at a four day fair that she decided she could organise a longer event herself - only it would it would be different experience all round!

From that decision the Decorative Fair was born and she blazed a trail across the Antiques Fair establishment and circuits.  Encouraged to decorate their own stands and display stock in a non regimented manner, exhibitors were looked after. She introduced the ‘Harvey Boys’, mainly a collection of jobbing actors to help with the carrying and who were often highly entertaining.

Dogs were allowed, the food was good, the bloody Mary’s better and the happy, relaxed informal atmosphere showed. It helped to make it a pleasant buying experience for designers, dealers and the general public.

The fair continued to go from strength to strength and as it grew changed venues until it settled and established itself as a thrice yearly six day event in a marquee in Battersea park - another new experience.

Other fairs have attempted to follow adding the ‘decorative’ element but none have really managed to capture either her or the fair's unique presence and personality.

She fought so hard over the years as she and the fair were often frowned upon and misunderstood and she fought so bravely at the end of her life. 

She leaves a shop in Church St Marylebone which will continue to be run by her daughter Victoria, her other daughter Sarah and grandson Jonathan, who have a massive void to fill.

She was strong, quite fierce at times, but seriously kind, loving and loyal an amazing woman and she will be missed desperately by those who loved and knew her.

 

Darren Hudson, Director, the Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair:

Patricia was the founder of the Decorative Fair over 35 years ago. She was the first to create a Fair outside of the traditional box and introduce the idea of a Decorative Antiques Fair.  As a dealer she had shops in Westbourne Grove, Kings Road and finally moved to Church Street, Marylebone. 

A titan of the industry she was sometimes tough but always there when one needed help. She helped launch many dealers, myself included. She had a habit of commanding more than any other dealer, and getting it!

She was, of course, mother to Victoria and Sarah, and auntie to Melanie (on our front desk).

We have a lot to thank her for and she will be missed by all who knew her.

 

Spencer Swaffer

Patricia Harvey’s genius was to make antiques sexy, edgy and relevant again. Her fair gave dealers a stage on which to present their talent, and the great and the good of the interiors trade queued out of the door to buy.

At a time when antiques fairs were considered academic exhibitions of shone up seriousness, she gave us stands full of chippy paint, chrome, neon and linens from 19th century country houses to chic palazzos of Italy, with a bit of cheap tat thrown in 

So long as it had quality and charm nothing was out of bounds. Step out of line and she ruled like a stern headmistress in a classroom full of brats.  It was her fair and her rules, and quite right too.

She drove it on to become an unmissable date on the international antiques calendar, eventually eclipsing the fading old girl of Olympia to the West.

And her fair spawned at least two, perhaps even three, generations of leading lights in the business.  Above all, she understood that we are all in the fashion business, not the antiques business