All creatures great and small will adorn some of the most sought after decorative objects on sale at the Antiques and Textiles Fair at Battersea Park this month.
In an “ornamental menagerie” visitors will find vintage birds and beasts at every turn: furniture carved into classical lions paws and 18th-century chinoiserie; formal and folk art dogs, cats, birds and domestic animals of all kinds, and lamps in the form of carved or cast birds and beasts – a trend much imitated on the high street.
This is a fair that pulls in the big-name interior designers and tastemakers eager to get their hands on new finds – you might be rubbing shoulders with Rose Uniake from Pimlico Road, Rita Konig, Anouska Hempel, Martyn Lawrence Bullard, Nina Campbell, Olga Polizzi et al. So strong is the trend for mixing vintage with modern that every note-worthy interior designer needs to be first in the queue – even US designer Rose Tarlow was spotted in recent years with her client Oprah Winfrey.
A late 19th century carved teak elephant, £650, Hatchwell Antiques
Of the spring, autumn and winter Antiques and Textiles Fairs at Battersea Park, Aprils is also the richest hunting ground for all things garden related, such as planters, urns and troughs, statuary, benches, outdoor tables and re-purposed objects, such as industrial metal window frames glazed with antiqued mirror – perfect if you have a patio garden or balcony that needs that “indoor-outdoor” look and sense of space.
Pippa Roberts has worked behind the scenes on all three fairs every year for the past 15 years. “Theres been a resurgence of interest in the use of antique and vintage garden decoration in recent years,” she says. “Homeowners are investing more in their outside spaces, partly because theyre moving house less, and partly due to the growth in garden design as an extension of interior style. Its very much a case of bringing the inside out these days.”
The fact that well-behaved dogs on leads are welcome is a sign that this is one of the friendliest of the smart antiques fairs around, and stall-holders go to extraordinary lengths to create just the right setting, pasting up acres of eyecatching wallpaper, hanging mirrors and adding decorative plants. Tucked away in leafy Battersea Park, celebs by the limousine-load enjoy a day at the fair – Eddie Redmayne, Claudia Schiffer, Pippa Middleton, Lara Stone, Sir Paul Smith and the Beckhams have all mingled amid the throng.
A French bamboo sofa circa 1950, £3,500, Violet Grey
Violet Grey, a new exhibitor from Devon, is bringing a sweet 1950s French bamboo sofa for a conservatory (£3,500) and a stunning sculptural faux bois bench (£3,250); and Hatchwell Antiques has a 19th-century teak elephant (£650) in its menagerie.For stone garden tables, try Martin D Johnson Antiques or Maison Artefact; for a 1900s porcelain parrot (£320) try Adam Calvert Bentley; and mid-century metal leaf sculptures by Maison Charles are available from 3details – all bring this springs country-house whimsy look to London living.
The Spring Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair, Battersea Park, SW11, 17-22 April; £10 on the door or visit decorativefair.com to join the mailing list for free tickets