When the Beckhams go shopping these days it’s with an air of refinement, an eye for detail and a nose to sniff out some decorative objets to fill their many, many rooms. David was spotted at the Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair in Battersea Park in January, and on Tuesday, for the spring fair, it was Victoria’s turn.
She arrived early with her interior designer Rose Uniacke, whose showroom is a mere stone’s throw across the river from the park. Uniacke’s style is “to create calm, balanced, refined interiors” that are “elegant and understated yet friendly and inviting”, so they would have found lots to like here to go with her stripped floors and low-slung chairs.
The fair is a bustling, covered wander among bleached and limed-oak wood, mid-century modern chairs and lamps, 1950s Spanish distressed lacquered chests and bookcases, mirrors (and more mirrors, every room-set has a large centrepiece), glassware, rattan (a hot tip, although this all seemed to have been bought within the first hour), mounted antlers and weathered-stone garden statuary, all accessorised with shipments of blossom, daffodil bulbs and trailing ivy.
The fair aims to be populist rather than po-faced which is why it’s the “decorative” fair, rather than the “ever-so-serious antique collectors’” fair. Having said that, it is a mecca for professional interior designers who, along with London dealers, see this as a chance to cherry-pick items from a host of regional dealers who come to the capital en masse, three times a year.
If you have, say, £500 to £2,500 to spend, then the chances are you will find something exciting with a pedigree that will become a talking point. You can spend much more – some original Andy Warhol drawings and prints caught my eye at Haynes Fine Art, £26,750 for Marilyn Invitation 1981, and £37,500 for Flowers. I also loved the 1960s Austin Cox American chess set (£1,500) from Mid-CenturyOnline, and Ancient & Oriental has fabulous rows of Tang dynasty terracotta rabbits, horses and the Tang Fat Lady.
All these cost many thousands, but its website (antiquities.co.uk) has artefacts for less than £100. Admiring the sculptures at close quarters, suddenly my handbag swung about violently, a terrifying moment among the Tang and the Ming.
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Thankfully, it was just a boisterous dog and the antiques were unscathed. I swear I heard my purse breathe a sigh of relief.
Runs until Sunday. Tickets are £10 on the door.