My visit to the BADA fair in Duke of York Square yesterday got off to something of an explosive start. Wandering around the press preview I suddenly heard – or thought I heard – my name called over the tanoy. Convinced I must have misheard – after all what could anyone possibly want me for? – I headed straight for the ‘Heroes and villains’ loan exhibition to marvel at Elvis Presley’s pink sapphire ring and Rita Hayworth’s enormous cigarette case. But sure enough, 10 minutes later I heard it again – distinctly this time. ‘Could Miss Goodfellow please report to security.’ Baffled, I did. But the security guards were equally puzzled and sent me off to the organiser’s office. As I explained why I was there they all fell about laughing – it turns out ‘goodfellow’ is some sort of industry standard code for dealers to check their stands for suspicious objects!
I got a quick glimpse of the queue which was snaking back to Peter Jones before I managed to talk my way back in (security had decided I was a decidedly dodgy character by this time) for a last look round before the crowds descended.
Gold award for best stand design went to Godson & Coles for its uncluttered stand which paired some show-stopping pieces of furniture – a gothic-style table and two chairs by Chippendale’s son - with minimal modern art by Sandra Blow and William Johnson.
Silver went to Mark Seabrook antiques whose country furniture and 18th century spoon racks were pulling the crowds as soon as the doors finally opened. David Foord-Brown’s eye-catching display of wall-mounted silver platter covers deserves a special mention too – a fabulous idea for a dining room.
My top picks? Michael Reilly’s delightful menu illustrations for the Great Western Railway on Henry Moore-Gwynn’s stand and a pair of silver pepper grinders in the form of champagne bottles at Angus Adam – a snip (comparatively) at £575.
Then it was down the road to the Chelsea Antiques Fair – much smaller and less flash, but none the worse for that. Graham Ellis of Simply Antiques had a stunning display of his cigarette and calling card cases while Brian Watson’s 17th – 19th century drinking glasses also caught my interest. A set of beautifully-etched champagne coupes would make the most wonderful wedding gift – now I just need one of my friends to get married!