Current Trends at the Battersea Decorative Fair

One of my favorite antiques fairs opened October 3: I’ve shared many Antiques Diva® tours and buying trips with you on the blog. I always count Battersea as a do not miss antiques event. More than just shopping, The Decorative Fair at London’s Battersea Park is an experience. And my team at The Antiques Diva & Co feels privileged to count several dealers at the fair as friends and favorite sources that our clients have special access to. Held 3 times annually, the fair’s reputation is well-known: interior designers from around the globe attend The Decorative Fair, often shopping with their clients, and many American dealers attend to stock their store – but private customers are welcome to attend also! Designers and stylists attend the Fair to search out original and unusual furniture, art and accessories to give their projects an individual touch. (Spotted: The Fair was recently visited by David and Victoria Beckham… they shopped with their decorator Rose Uniacke, and one of the UK’s hottest interior designers at present!)

Styles at The Decorative Fair range from French and English antique furniture to tabletop to mid-century modern. And what I love about the Battersea Decorative Fair is that not only is there something for everyone’s taste, there is also a range of price points. If you are seeking high-end antiques, you will find them; but The Fair also has smalls and decorative pieces that won’t cost a fortune – and may even fit in your suitcase! 

Today’s guest blog is by Pippa Roberts, Specialist at The Decorative Fair, on the current trends in antiques and decor seen at London’s Autumn 2017 Decorative Fair – open now through October 8. 

The Decorative Antiques and Textiles Fair – Battersea Park, London 

Decorated ‘brown’ furniture 

There has been a marked interest recently in fine, late 18th and early 19th-century furniture, with good embellishment and in richly coloured woods, such as Italian or French fruitwood or walnut commodes with ormolu/metal mounts or decoration. For international buyers pressed for time, there is no better one-stop-shop for European furniture than the Decorative Fair.

Trends at the Battersea Decorative Fair - Brown Furniture
French Restoration period mahogany commode of small size with fine original mounts (and detail). Late-C18th North Italian walnut inlaid commode.


Classic country house style / maximalism 

The country house look is definitely back in, and the Decorative Fair is the home of classic English country house furnishings: Persian rugs on floors, a mix of polished and painted wood furniture and nicely upholstered Regency sofas, elaborate mirrors, traditional portrait and landscape paintings, tapestries, etc. Chintz is back in, big time, in terms of textiles and pattern. Layering different periods of furniture and accessories adds instant ‘family history’ and an established, ‘been there forever’ look to a room. You can decorate an entire country house from top to bottom at the Decorative Fair! It’s the only fair you can sensibly achieve this at.

Trends at the Battersea Decorative Fair - Classic country house style / maximalism
Pair of early C19th mahogany lyre-back hall chairs; carved gilded mirror with oval plate probably Flemish c.1710. 


Trends at the Battersea Decorative Fair - Classic country house style
Knole sofa upholstered in velvet! (and in a very current ‘plum’ colour); C19th serpentine English sofa in vintage chintz.


White ceramics

White ceramics have been a big thing for the past year or two, and look set to retain their chic; groups of white German modernist vases, large Regency-style French tureens and jugs, and more ornately decorated pieces for impactful tablescapes and cabinet displays.

Trends at the Battersea Decorative Fair - white ceramics
White ceramics remain on trend. Stands from past fairs shown here Jackdawes and Quindry. 


Trends at the Battersea Decorative Fair - white ceramics
White ceramics featured in stands from past fairs by Nick Jones.


Decorated folk furniture / art 

Traditional pieces that have a homespun air: decorated furniture, either painted, or découpaged, or decorated with more unusual materials such as seeds, i.e. truly unique pieces.

Trends at the Battersea Decorative Fair - Decorated folk furniture
Pine Seed Graduated Shelves: there are quite a few examples of pine seed decoration but few of this quality and intricacy. The shelves are almost entirely covered in these exquisite patterns made from flatted pine seeds. 90cm x 53.5cm x 16 cm (to be offered at the Oct fair by Streett Marburg & Charlotte Casedejus). Right: German Augsburg Arte Povera (folk art) painted decoupage small cabinet c1700 sold earlier this year. 


Art Deco glamour 

Art Deco design is selling well, especially glass – colourful, and looks great on the cocktail shelf/bar cart. You can see Deco style in many of the leading designer contemporary brands at present.

Trends at the Battersea Decorative Fair - Art Deco glamour
Deco turquoise ‘rope’ decorated vases by French ceramics house Sainte Radegonde, 1930s / 40s; this Aldo Tura 1960s lacquered goatskin drinks cabinet carries a strong deco aesthetic, his designs have been highly popular recently; a splendid stepped and waisted form facet cut Deco Josephinenhütte decanter with silver plate collar with flashed amber panels to the front and back, each finely engraved with stylised berry designs, c1930s, designed by Siegfried Haertl (this piece is coming to the Oct fair with one of our glass and decorative tile specialists, Richard Hoppé). 


Bamboo and rattan furniture is still having a strong ‘moment’. As are bar carts of every style and era!

Trends at the Battersea Decorative Fair - Bamboo and rattan
Selection of rattan and bamboo furniture photographed at recent Decorative Fairs.


Indigo blue / blue and white 

This colour, and blue & white china, has been having a renaissance; classic blue and white Delftware pots or English china plates are being used once again by decorators, even using gilded sconces to mount them around fireplaces (as per the C17th habit) or in dining rooms. Indigo blue is a big interiors colour at the moment, so we don’t see this trend changing anytime soon.

Trends at the Battersea Decorative Fair - Indigo blue
Selection of C18th and C19th Delftware pots and vases can always be found at the fair; gorgeous indigo blue vintage Chinese folk textiles from new exhibitor Bleu Anglais. 


Trends at the Battersea Decorative Fair - indigo bleu
Blue and white china of varying dates and styles on an exhibitor’s stand at the last fair; antique English blue & white china featured in the foyer display in April this year – the fair has a specialist, Sue Norman, exhibiting in this field. 


Velvet upholstery and trimmings 

Top of the list in terms of luxe upholstery trends right now! The Decorative Fair presented a passementerie foyer display a couple of years ago, and since then, tassels, trimmings, and fringes have been back with a vengeance in high-end interiors. Antique passementerie, metallic threadwork and haberdashery items are offered by many of the textile dealers (and others) at the fair.

Trends at the Battersea Decorative Fair - passementerie


Book A Tour with The Antiques Diva & CoBook an Antiques Diva Buying Tour


The Battersea Decorative Antiques & Textiles Details

  • October 3-8 2017
  • Battersea Evolution
    Battersea Park
    London SW11 4NJ
    Vehicle Entry via Chelsea Bridge Gate ONLY
  • Tuesday 3rd October: 12 noon – 8pm
    Wednesday 4th October: 11am – 8pm
    Thursday 5th October : 11am – 8pm
    Friday 6th October: 11am – 7pm
    Saturday 7th October: 11am – 7pm
    Sunday 8th October: 11am – 6pm
  • £10 on the door including catalogue which allows free re-entry
    Tickets can only be purchased with cash

Vendors at The Decorative Fair are carefully selected specialists in antique and 20th-century design from Britain and Europe with an unrivalled selection of stock.

October is the last date for The Decorative Fair in 2017; if you’d like a private antique buying tour in 2018 (January 23-28, April 17-22, and Autumn 2018) to Battersea’s design extravaganza – plus our other London and English countryside custom antique buying tours.

Cheers! Hope to see you in London! 

Toma Clark Haines – The Antiques Diva®  

For The Love of Antiques

Dear Diva Readers,

top: 5px; float: left; color: white; background: #781300; border: 1px solid darkkhaki; font-size: 60px; line-height: 50px; padding-top: 1px; padding-right: 5px; font-family: times;”>For the past month my team and I have been in the process of rewriting our website – page by page. We’re not finished yet… but it’s  a start.  In rewriting the website it’s made me think about what we stand for as a company – our goals and our objectives and I realized what I really want more than anything is to make antiques accessible.  We’re less about your formal grandmother’s antiques with P’s & Q’s that make antiques scary and more about putting antiques into real people, relatable terms.

Toma Clark Haines - Berlin Apartment
Small party at my home in Berlin

You can learn about antiques the same way you would wine.  You do a wine tasting to educate your pallet. I like to taste outrageously expensive wines so I can recognize quality when I taste it. In terms of antiques you could do little wine tasting, er… I mean – antiques tasting –  to learn how to differentiate between high quality pieces and lower end items.

Expose yourself to quality – go to a museum, a famous house, or my personal favorite choice – a chic boutique hotel.  Expose your eye to top quality pieces. Visit auction houses – there is no education better than a Christie’s or Sotheby’s catalog. Window shop.  Buy design books and pilfer through the pages.

christies Auction

Earlier this week I encouraged you to ask antique vendors questions as part of your learning process… I’m taking this a step further and saying the world is your school.  Be inquisitive.  Ask everyone questions – from interior designers to museum curators to boutique owners to your friends on why they bought certain items.  And remember to sometimes just observe.  Take time to study the details without understanding why.  Take time to draw correlations in your own mind.

Winter garden of Jacquemart Andre Museum in Paris

In doing so you will educate yourself – you will learn what to look for, how to look, how to educate your eye, tricks in looking at antiques, what warning signs to look for in finding a fake – and why SOMETIMES buying a vintage reproduction is the right decision.  That might sound like blasphemy but there are copies of items made throughout the centuries.  In Louis XVI time he was copying the treasures found in Pompeii – down the road further neoclassical movements copied both Louis and his predecessors.  You may not be able to afford  a period piece but you can have the look with a piece that’s a 100 years newer but still 100 years old.


My entire philosophy is people should buy what they love.  I happen to love the patina of 18th C pieces so I try to buy the oldest, best quality pieces I can afford.  But sometimes I break the rules for love.  In essence – if you love the antique or vintage piece you are wanting to buy and if you are willing to pay the price it’s marked then it’s the right buy for you.  Antiques are subjective.  Trends and styles influence prices – but love – in my mind – love is forever.


When people buy antiques they often worry they are going to be ripped off or that they don’t know enough about antiques to buy them.  If you buy what you love you will never go wrong.

One of our jobs at The Antiques Diva® & Co is to try to empower clients to buy antiques with confidence! On tour we’re there to answer your questions and introduce you to vendors we admire… but we’re also there to encourage you to follow you heart. If you love it – ultimately that’s the only thing that matters.  Love will lead the way.

Perhaps I’ve got love on the mind… the timing of this blog post couldn’t be more appropriate… my husband and I just celebrated our 18th year anniversary.  Happy Anniversary to my One and Only.

The Antiques Diva®
(seen here with my Mister)

BJ Haines, Antiques Diva
Photo credit Laila McCubbin Jones



USA Edition: Chicago Chic – Alessandra Branca

Dear Diva Readers,

top:5px;float:left;color:white;background:#781300;border:1px solid darkkhaki;font-size:100px;line-height:90px;padding-top:1px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>For years I’ve worshiped at the design altar of Alessandra Branca, licking the pages of the publications in which she’s appeared.  But my adoration neared obsession after I listened to an interview with her on my favorite blog/podcast The Skirted Round Table with Linda Merrill .  Branca is simply my favorite interior designer and when a long layover on a flight home for the holidays had me meeting up with friends in Chicago I had one request  – I wanted to visit Branca’s decorating store!

With friends La Reine (blogger of She’s Shopping Now) and Lady Lotus in Branca’s Chicago Shop

Branca’s Chicago shop – located at 117 East Pearson Street – exceeded all expectations and my expectations were high.  The fact that they showered my friends and me with bubbly minutes after entering the store added to the ambiance, but even without the prosecco I was in Branca heaven – swathed in black and white stripes and deep European red décor.  Her style is – like her – Italian, but her years lived abroad in the USA give her European Décor a  fresh American twist.

Branca’s Chicago shop is magazine ready, perfectly staged for the pages of House Beautiful or Traditional Home.  Her combined mix of antiques and upholsteries in simple tickings juxtaposed with rich silk damasks has an exotic flair while her daring use of pattern pushes me beyond my comfort zone to take chances I might not have taken on my own.   Alessandra paints with pattern, and her varied colors range from steel grey and shocking pink to Pompeian red and sun-drenched ochre, the shade of old stone and stucco walls seen everywhere in Rome, the city where she grew up.

These Italian roots define Alessandra’s work – growing up in Italy, Branca’s concept of color was formed by Giotto, Raphael, and Caravaggio and her sense of scale shaped by Bramante, Borromini and Bernini. Today, these Italian roots are readily apparent in Branca’s work.

Notice how Branca’s palette can be found in Caravaggio’s “Supper at Emmaus”

Branca’s book”>New Classic Interiors is one of my favorite design books  and visiting her store felt like I had opened the cover and stepped inside for an actual tour of its pages.  Better than the book, everything I saw in the store was for sale, Chez Branca!

Happy Shopping,

The Antiques Diva®

USA Edition – Chicago’s Randolph Street Market Summer 2009 Dates

to 10px; WIDTH: 213px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 320px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”” border=”0″ />The 2009 Chicago Antique Market / Randolph Street Market opens Memorial Day Weekend!!

When? 2009 Market Dates include:

  • May 23-24
  • June 27-28
  • July 25-26
  • Aug 29-30
  • Sept 26-27

Where? Chicago’s 1350 block of West Randolph Street and inside historic Plumbers Hall

What? The Randolph Street Market website reads: “Experience the most exciting array of vintage and modern decorative objects, home furnishings, art, fashion and jewelry ever assembled in downtown Chicago! The Randolph Street Market Festival is home to the world-renowned Chicago Antique Market and Indie Designer Market & the favorite destination for merchandisers, decorators, fashionistas and style setters from around the globe. This European-style indoor-outdoor market in the historic West Loop neighborhood features 200 select purveyors of high quality, beautifully-priced “finds” offering unlimited creative inspiration and hours of fun. As featured in Travel & Leisure, Lucky Magazine and NY Times.” (not to mention in The Antiques Diva™ Blog)

Hours? Saturdays: 10-5 Sundays: 10-4

What if it rains? The fair must go on… shop indoors and out, rain or shine!