BELFAST – Art and antiques dealers from Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic are heading to a new antiques and fine art on Sunday, 8 December 2019 (11am-6pm) in the Titanic Hotel Belfast, in the city’s historic Titanic Quarter.
At the Belfast Antiques & Fine Art Fair, core collecting areas of silver, paintings, jewellery, oriental art, maps, coins, books and objets de vertu will be represented.
Pitches at the fair have now sold out, with 24 dealers taking part.
Des Gallagher and Garth Arnold, the dealers behind the launch, believe they have found a gap in the market for a quality vetted Irish fair staged at key buying points in the calendar, such as pre-Christmas.
As with other quality antiques and fine art fairs, the objects for sale at the Belfast Antiques & Fine Art Fair will be vetted for age and authenticity before doors open.
Work by Irish artists including painters Markey Robinson (1918-99) and William Orpen (1878-1931), and sculptor and painter Phyllis Arnold, will be for sale alongside period furniture, coins, jewellery and silver.
“As dealers ourselves, knowing the Irish appreciation for fine art and objects, we feel that Belfast needs this quality fair,” Gallagher says. “The idea is to bring buyers and great Irish dealers with a variety of art together in the unique environment of the Titanic Hotel Belfast.
“We’re starting off with a pre-Christmas fair to test the water, but early signs are really promising with a waiting list of dealers keen to take part.” If the first event is successful, Gallagher says, the organisers plan to run the fair three times a year.
Dealers from north and south
Gallagher adds: “What’s particularly pleasing is the spread of dealers from north and south of Ireland who have signed up to this inaugural Belfast fair.”
The Stables Art Gallery in Portstewart and Original Irish Art in Kinsale are exhibiting alongside Aylmer Fine Art of Dublin, Adam Antiques of Dundrum, Co Down and Robert Christie Antiques of Ballyclare, Co Antrim.
Periods covered start from mid-18th to late 20th century, with prices ranging from £10 to four and five figures for work by known artists.
The fair venue itself is steeped in history, being the former headquarters of shipbuilders Harland and Wolff, where RMS Titanic and other ocean liners were designed.
The luxury hotel is a stone’s throw from the Titanic Belfast museum, into which up to 3000 visitors stream on a Sunday.
Two star items for sale at the fair have a direct link to the Titanic, the design of which took place in the hotel – the former headquarters of shipbuilders Harland and Wolff.
A silver box and a personalised silver key fob belonging to John Miller Andrews, prime minister of Northern Ireland 1940-43 and brother of Titanic designer Thomas Andrews, will be auctioned in the afternoon of the fair.
Novel auction element
The hour-long auction of 70 dealer lots – an innovative element for an art and antiques fair – is partly in aid of Lagan Search & Rescue. It is being hosted by Karl Bennett, managing director of Belfast saleroom Bloomfield Auctions.
◙ Doors to the fair on 8 December will open to the general public at 11am, with entry for trade at the earlier time of 10.30am. The fair will close at 6pm.
◙ Entry for the public will cost £3 per person, £5 per couple, with free entry for children
◙ There is parking availability on nearby Queen’s Road, in those areas which do not have single or double yellow lines. Sunday parking relaxations will apply. The Titanic Quarter Pay & Display Car Park is located on the Queen’s Road.
◙ Directions: Vehicles approaching Belfast on the M1 or M2 should follow the signs to Belfast City Airport M3, taking the first exit for Titanic Quarter.