The 40th Olympia International Fine Art & Antiques Fair started on the morning of June 7th with queues that went along the side of the impressive exhibition hall up to the Hammersmith Road. The fair, which is London’s most established fair, featured more than 200 exhibitors and saw 6,768 visitors through the doors on the first day. The final visitor numbers were 32,272.
A 32-piece toilet service, which sold in the region of £1.5million, was among the highest prices achieved at 11-day fair, which ended on Sunday, June 17, 2012. The service went to a private overseas buyer. The early 18th century set by Benjamin Pyne of London was commissioned in 1708 by the Duchess of Norfolk’s father for the marriage of his 16-year-old-daughter to the Duke of Norfolk, which secured the bride’s family a position in the first flight of the English aristocracy. It had been brought to the fair by Hawkins and Hawkins of Tasmania and Scotland, who were among several dealers returning to the fair. They have not exhibited at any fair since 2005 and their stand was one of the highlights with an extraordinary mixture of taxidermy and very unusual stock combined with important furniture. Their stand attracted attention all week and among their other sales was a blackbuck skeleton, dating from 1901, which was originally in the Loder Collection (England), and sold for in the region of £2,000.
Throughout the week, both visitors and exhibitors commented on the appearance of the fair. Julian Bly, of Solomon Bly, said: “The fair had an eclectic and elegant mix of exhibitors”, while Peter Petrou went on to say: “The fair looks fantastic and the trade have made a serious effort with the design of their stands.”