Something for every buyer (and browser) at next weekend’s RDS Antiques Fair

Growing demand for Art Deco and mid-century modern reflected by sellers

 

The 52nd annual Irish Antique Dealers Association (IADA) fair opens at the RDS in Dublin on Friday next, September 22nd.

About 15,000 people are expected to attend the three-day event which showcases thousands of items of art, antiques and collectibles by the country’s leading dealers. The fair is traditionally popular with collectors, investors and browsers who find auction salerooms a bit too hectic and prefer to buy in a calmer environment where there’s time to talk to specialists.

Not everything in the fair is an antique – ie 100 years old – and that reflects the growing demand for more recent items, especially Art Déco (from the 1920s and 1930s) and mid-century (1950s and 1960s) furniture and design, especially Scandinavian. But whether your interest is in Georgian jewellery, Victorian oil paintings, rare books or fine porcelain there’s a vast array of objects in the fair in all price brackets.

Antique and vintage items will be on display side-by-side. For example, Clarendon Street antique silver and jewellery dealers JW Weldon’s earliest pieces of Irish silver – a pair of Charles II Irish trefid spoons, made in Dublin in 1663 by the silversmith Sir Abel Ram, priced at €35,000, while a mid-century modern leather and teak armchair from Danish Designer Finn Juhl is priced at €4,950 from The Vintage Hub.

This mixing of pieces from different eras will be showcased in a new attraction at this year’s event: the interior designer Roisin Lafferty will, according to organisers, be blending antiques and contemporary pieces into three specially constructed room sets at the centre of the fair.

Modern home

Lafferty says “bringing antiques into the design sphere is very much on trend internationally and these curated rooms will illustrate how items bought at the fair can make a modern home. Framing antiques with more contemporary pieces creates a more interesting room setting because each piece tells a story and has its own history. Mid-century furniture is appealing to everyone at the moment so the idea will be to mix this style with the more classical items.”

According to the newly-elected president of IADA, Dublin jeweller Paul Brereton, visitors to the fair will see examples of great craftsmanship from throughout the ages and “discover something different, that magical piece that can make a home”. All the items on display are vetted by IADA in advance.

Attendees also have access to free valuations and a programme of talks and lectures by experts. Among the highlights are: Friday (September 22nd) at 1pm Making Magnificence: Architects, Stuccatori and 18th Century Interiors by Dr Christine Casey – Associate Professor in Architectural History, Trinity College Dublin; and at 3pm, the History of The Asian Collections in the National Museum of Ireland by Dr Audrey Whitty – the keeper of the museum’s Art & Industrial Division.

On Saturday (September 23rd) at noon, jeweller Phyllis MacNamara of Cobwebs in Galway will tell The Fascinating Story of the Claddagh Ring; and, at 1pm silver collectors can hear a presentation entitled Irish Silver Unmasked by Tom Sinsteden – member of the Dublin Assay Office, and member of the Antique Plate Committee of Company Goldsmith, Dublin.

On Sunday (September 24th) the talks include at 1pm, Exhibiting Art in Georgian Ireland by Dr Ruth Kenny – curator of the Irish Georgian Society’s 2018 Exhibition Celebrating the Society of Arts in Ireland; and, at 2pm, an expert on international art theft, Julian Radcliffe of the Art Loss Register will give a talk on the Importance of Provenance. For the full programme of events, see iada.ie

The 52nd Irish Antique Dealers Fair at the RDS, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4. Friday-Sunday , Sept 22nd-24th. Entry €10 but free with the coupons published in The Irish Times. Opening times: Friday 22nd: 11am-9pm; Saturday 23rd: 11am-6pm; and Sunday 24th: 11am-6pm

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