The Antiques for Everyone fair is coming to London for the very first time this month. Previously held at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, the launch of the AFE London Art Antiques Interiors Fair will feature an array of speakers including antiques experts and regulars on the Antiques Roadshow such as Mark Hill, Judith Miller and Lennox Cato - as well as interior designer Rachel Laxer and editor of Interior Style Hunter, Grant Pierrus.


I spoke to author, publisher, TV presenter, and the leading specialist dealer in post-war Czechoslovakian glass, Mark Hill, who you may recognise from the BBC Antiques Roadshow, Cracking Antiques, Antiques Uncovered and Collectaholics for BBC2. 

What is the market like at the moment?

Antiques trade suffered a huge amount over the past few years. There are far fewer places to go shopping for these sorts of things. Once upon a time every borough high street had an antique shop on it so you didn’t have to go too far, but now I’m afraid it’s a mobile phone shop or an estate agent or something.  That makes it actually a great time to buy now as by and large many of the traditional antiques have fallen in price, which makes them extraordinary value. 

What should people be looking out for in 2017? 

To be honest it’s whatever makes your heart sing, it could be anything - for example I’ve got a couple of orange glass vases here and the sun is actually streaming in at the moment and lighting them up and they just look wonderful and they are not like everyone else has, they are things that have a story. People often walk into our house and say gosh that’s weird, that’s unusual, that’s cool, what is that? And you talk about where you might have found it, what it might be, who might have used it and all of a sudden you’re taken on this journey. It’s the closest I suppose to going back in history, to being Dr Who if you like. It’s the only thing that allows you to travel in time. 

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What advice would you give?

Always buy the best you can, that’s a rule, because if you love it you’ll never regret it. Always having the best you can means that if you move house and the object doesn’t fit with your new scheme it won’t have lost its residual value.

Don’t necessarily trust what you see on the Internet. The good thing about a fair like AFE is it’s all independently vetted by people who ask around before the fair opens, making sure it’s all as it should be and that’s a critical point.  Also, ask a question. These people love to talk about the things they love. Don’t feel the pressure that you have know about these things and build up a collection, a couple of really good pieces beautifully displayed can look just great. Give them air give them space to shine, that’s important. Lighting is a good way to introduce antiques to a room you can really add weight and style with a bit of lighting or just something like a vintage armchair or a couple of vases displayed on a shelf, they just bring the eye in add interest to that all important story. 

Where are good places in London for a good rummage?

I’ve got to recommend Antiques for Everyone fair coming up at ExCeL because that’s a brilliant place that brings together a load of dealers from across the country who are top specialists in their field. That’s important because when you’re buying something like this it’s a little bit like if you were going to buy a flat screen telly, what would you do? You look around at a fair few places and you’d look on the Internet, buying antiques is no more scary than that.  Of course obviously if you’re buying your flat screen TV you’d go somewhere good, you want good advice from somebody and it’s the same with antiques. What makes Antiques for Everyone so good is you’re buying from specialists direct, they know what they’re doing and they’ve got immense passion about what they do and what they’re selling and they love to share that. 

Bucks Free Press: Jeroen Markies

AFE London Art Antiques Interiors Fair, ExCeL London, Royal Victoria Dock, 1 Western Gateway, London, E16 1XL, Friday, January 13 until Sunday, January 15. Details: afelondonfair.com