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Preview of Antiques at the Palace, Blenheim
We associate the Cotswold Art and Antique Dealers Association (CADA) with mounting impeccable exhibitions and the Thames Valley Antique Dealers Association with running annual fairs to showcase their members’ stock. This April is an exception. CADA is having its first art and antiques fair at Blenheim Palace a first, too, for the World Heritage site.
Kirstie Alsopp presented CADA member, Christopher Clarke Antiques with the Homes & Antiques’ award for the best specialist shop. They are probably the only specialists worldwide to deal in Campaign Furniture. Sean Clarke said: “Our antiques may look like domestic furniture but they are made to fold up or dismantle for ease of travel. When the British Empire was at its height, a large industry provided such furniture and accessories for the soldiers and administrators who travelled to the colonies.”
Their stock is topical given Jeremy Paxman’s TV series on the Empire. But it is also hard to avoid the Titanic on TV or in the press, and one of the show’s highlights is a vanity box given by the owner of the White Star Line to his wife, Florence. Joseph Ismay was the highest ranking officer to survive that fateful first voyage. I hope this is not a first and last voyage for CADA fairs because the majority of its 37 members are taking part and it looks as if it is going to be a remarkable show.
Of local interest is the watercolour of the Ashmolean by Alan Sorrel RWS on the stand of Newman fine art. John Howard, of Woodstock, is a world-class dealer in Staffordshire figures. He will be exhibiting a rare figure of Wellington on horseback but John’s animals are always an attraction and his spaniels (see above) are no exception — just don’t expect them to bark.
Witney Antiques are bringing a sampler by Mary Flack made in 1724, the year Blenheim Palace was completed. The show will take place in the colonnade, Orangery and Marlborough room and opens tomorrow (10am-8pm) and on Saturday and Sunday 10am-5.30pm.
For more information go to www.cotswolds-antiques-art.com