Forty years old and still going strong, the Olympia Fine Art & Antiques Fair continues to captivate with its infinite variety. This year there are no fewer than 200 dealers. Here’s just a sample of the interesting and the off-beat to be found there.
A collection of thirty 19th century Lozi baskets from Barotse in Central East Africa and North West Zambia. Woven from the roots of the makenge bush with traditional dyed black design. (£29,500). Behind is a large Fijian ‘tapa’ or ‘masi’ (barkcloth) with intricate geometric designs in natural lack and brown pigments which indicates that it would have been made for presentation to an important person, perhaps a foreign dignitary. Late 19th century, £6,800. From Peter Petrou.
Also on Peter Petrou‘s stand are these mysterious scagliola panels showing the circulatory and nervous systems. Made in the mid-19th century in Leipzig by Bock Steger Lips, who supplied didactic plaster models for the instruction of medical students.
A beautifully-styled 19th century display case of brushes by Wm Wright & Sons Ltd, Lymm, near Warrington. The company still exists, as Wrights of Lynn, and still manufactures gold leaf. On sale at £2,750 by Hawkins & Hawkins who have come all the way from Tasmania (stand F11).
The fair has introduced a contemporary element in recent years. A new exhibitor for 2012 is Natasha Kerr, who creates portraits celebrating real and fictional lives. She works on antique linen which is hand-painted, silkscreen printed, hand-stitched and appliqued. Her work is in several public collections including the V&A.
Olympia International Fine Art & Antiques Fair is on until 17 June.
There will also be interesting talks on: Chippendale, Madame Picasso,
Guns, Fossils, Textiles, Doing business with China, artists Edward Seago and Keith
Vaughan. Plus free themed daily tours of the fair’s highlights from Sunday 10th – Sunday 17th June. For more details go to www.olympia-art-antiques.com