London Antique Rug and Textile Fair
The move of the annual London Antique Rug and Textile (LARTA) Fair to the Mezzanine at Battersea Evolution (formerly Marquee) alongside the Winter Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair was accounted a success, with praise from customers, decorators and members of the trade—including Decorative Fair dealers exhibiting downstairs. With exhibitor numbers increased to 17, plus two specialist collectors’ magazines, LARTA revived something of the souk-like spirit of the old Hali fairs at Olympia. Without exception, the dealers loved their stands, the view over Battersea Park, the space and the layout. They also benefited from many new visitors and passing trade greatly increased compared to the previous venue in Marylebone.
One of the first-time exhibitors was Liberty Oriental Rugs, which attracted a great deal of attention with a stand designed to represent the frontage of the famous London store. In this field, Liberty remains faithful to its traditions—and the practice of carpet dealers such as Vrouyr of Antwerp and Chevalier in Paris— by offering both old and newly commissioned rugs. Sales were split 50/50 between antique and contemporary designs, including an antique Turkoman camel trapping to a collector priced in the region of £3,000 and ‘Secret Garden’, one of a new silk range handwoven in Laos, priced in excess of £15,000 (above).
For Andy Lloyd, a veteran, this was quite different to previous specialist fairs, including past LARTAS. His sales were mainly to new private customers, including a Swiss collector who came to London specifically for LARTA and an American collector who just happened to be in London. Sales included an early Coptic panel dating to about the 8th century AD, which was priced in the region of £2,500, and an antique quilted ikat chapan (right), or coat, from Uzbekistan, which was made in about 1890 and sold to an American for a sum in the region of £2,500. It was in particularly good condition.