Lamps and lighting are, of course, an ideal choice for illuminating darkened rooms as the days get shorter. From vintage ceiling lights and table lamps to antique lanterns, there is a wide variety to choose from at the fair, which runs at Birmingham’s NEC from November 15-18.
For example, Steve Bentley brings a c.1890 gaslight with a Vaseline glass shade by John Walsh Walsh. The distinctive coloured glass is of a type that was in vogue during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Made by combining uranium into the glass mix before melting for colouration (the pieces are not radioactive), the yellow-green hue is much sought-after.
“These days this is the most popular colour for buyers of glassware in my area,” Bentley says. “Twenty years ago, it was cranberry but for many years it’s been Vaseline. Since it isn’t made any more – it was difficult and dangerous to work with – the colour also guarantees that it’s not a reproduction.”
Meanwhile, Art Deco specialist Dave Hornikunger, trading as Deco Dave, offers a modernist chrome ‘Sputnik’ table lamp from the 1960s. It features six bulbs that allow for the position of the light to be changed and is one of several ‘space race’- themed pieces, including Saturn-ring lamps, that he will have on his stand.
A made-to-purpose Arts & Crafts brass and glass lantern, c.1900, and a pair of Christopher Dresser candlesticks are offered by Adrian Holt of Levels Antiques, which specialises in Arts & Crafts and Art Nouveau. These objects are popular today, he says, as they “suit modern as well as historic homes”. He also brings a variety of mirrors which, he adds, always sell well: “These work in every room in the house.”
Another way to light up an interior is by picking objects of bright or rich hues.
Like Bentley, Hornikunger says that yellow is in vogue right now, though for a different reason. “These tend to follow major contemporary fashion trends,” he says. “Last year it was orange, this year it’s yellow.”
“The items that stand out have to be the most important on the room, so we advise clients to consider whether furniture or lighting is the focus
He adds that colour is particularly important for those wishing to create a specifically Art Deco interior. “Wall colourings were very neutral in that period. Beiges, pale oranges and pale greens were popular. The items that stand out have to be the most important in the room, so we advise clients to consider whether furniture or lighting is the focus.”
Other objects of distinctive colour are a bright blue Royal Copenhagen ‘eye’ vase from Lynways Interiors, a specialist in Scandinavian ceramics and glass. A pair of crimson leather chairs and matching sofa, designed by Mogens Hansen and made in 1970s Denmark, are on the stand of Scandinavian by Design.
Elsewhere, Chester’s Farm Antiques brings a large 1887 Wedgwood charger which has a gold border in Auro Basalt design and a vividly coloured central roundel painted in barbotine and depicting a marine scene. Barbotine, a coloured clay slip, was used for moulding and decorating pottery.
“There was a lot of experimentation with this technique,” says the dealership’s Tom Parry. “You can lay it on quite thick and see what colour will result. It became popular with actual painters.” The scene on this charger was completed by Samuel Bateman (b.1849), and the size and combination of the two techniques make it an unusual piece.
Many dealers use the NEC fair as a chance to showcase their stand-out stock. Deco Dave says he spends the months between each edition of the fair building up a completely fresh collection of objects for each staging.
Although plenty of top-quality collectors’ items are on offer, fine items to suit all budgets are also available, including a range at the stand of Chester’s Farms, with some original prints by Christopher Dresser for £35 each.
Special loan exhibition - Irons
An exhibition of more than 300 irons from the early 19th to the early 20th century is included at Antiques for Everyone where they will form the event’s regular loan show. Pressing Matters is staged by members of the British Iron Collectors (BIC) and includes examples of various heating methods.
“We will be showing the development of irons with a selection from around the world,” says BIC representative Penny Savill, who added that it was for “collectors and anyone with an interest in domestic history”.