London South West, UK - Oprah was the headline, but of greater interest was an unassuming cast iron seat, in the gothic taste, on the stand of first timer at Battersea but old hand in the world of garden and architectural antiques, Nick Gifford-Mead.
The seat was probably early 19th century and was prominently marked with raised lettering MACFARLANE and PERTH FOUNDRY on the front stretcher. This was obviously not the Saracen Foundry of Walter MacFarlane founded c1852 in Glasgow, but an earlier Alexander MacFarlane who is recorded as making machinery in the 1830s at Perth for mills on the nearby estate of Thomas Graham, Lord Lynedoch, a soldier and agricultural improver, sometime right hand man of the Duke of Wellington during the peninsular campaign and others. I would like to think that perhaps the seat may have been a gift from MacFarlane to Graham which is why it was so obviously marked, when normally seats of this early date are not marked at all.
It is refreshing to see a gothic seat provenanced to a Scottish maker, rather than the more common attribution of French or Val d'Osne. Other gothic seats were known to have been produced by Yates Haywood in England, although very rarely described by the trade or auctioneers as such.
Among several fireplaces and accessories, Mr. Gifford-Mead also had an unusual silver-plated Georgian fire surround, some Egyptian tapestries (hastily brought in to cover bare walls left after the sale of wrought ironwork), and sculpture.
Outside the entrance to the fair was a display of garden ornament, much of which came from Gary Wallis, while inside was a display of antique fairground-related art and signage, much of which was from the personal collection of Drew Pritchard.
Guy Trench of Antiques by Design was in his normal position at the very back of the tent, with most of his fantasy salvage lighting sporting the faddish antique-look filament bulbs, although one standard lamp made from an old wooden ski had two strips of LEDs attached with a presumably lower wattage. Oprah Winfrey sauntered past with a white poodle, note-booked secretary and serious minder, attended by a frisson of excitement and much twittering by those who recognised her.
Gary Wallis stood next to Mr. Trench with a fine display including a very long antique table. He will be having another auction in Henley on 15th November, to be held again by Wellers, after the very successful auction held there earlier this year.
Among other decorative stands of note was No 1 Lewes, which is the business of Lily Trunfull, a short-listed antiques young gun of the year 2014, this year won by James Gooch of Doe & Hope.
The next Battersea fair will be held on 20 - 25 January 2015.
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Nick Gifford Mead Antiques, and Antiques By Design are Salvo Code supporters
Gary L. Wallis Antiques
Antiques By Design Ltd
Nicholas Gifford-Mead Antiques
Story Type: Fair Report