26th April 2019 About Art & Discussion

Every Major Art Fair in the UK in 2019

British Art Fair

The UK art fair calendar is a busy one, so check out this chronological guide to art fairs, happening around the country throughout 2019.

London Art Fair

Kicking off the calendar is the longstanding London Art Fair. In 2019 it celebrates its 31st edition. Hosted in the London Design Fair it can accommodate a whopping 100 galleries, showcasing some of the leading artists from the 20th Century onwards. Usually one for the high-rollers, don't be surprised to spot a Picasso or two, but you'll also find more affordable options in the specially curated sections beyond the main fair focusing on new works and less established galleries.

Connect Art Fair

A new art fair arrives on the circuit in 2019 in the form of Connect, run by a co-operative of art dealers and hosted at the well-reputed Mall Galleries. Aiming to 'cut out the middleman' as it were, this fair promises fair prices for exhibitors and in turn fair prices for punters. It's an opportunity to view and purchase from genuine #notonthehighstreet galleries offering quality art across a range of genres and mediums.

The Opening Evening at the Mall Galleries - Hosting the Connect Art Fair - Image Credit - An_tique_UK

Talented Art Fair

Talented brings together about 100 'talented artists' many of which are fairly well established and finding good representation in galleries around the country. It has a much less salubrious (and pretentious) feel to many of the other art fairs, meaning you don't have to feel obliged to don your blazer with the pocket square! In contrast to many of the other fairs it's also free to enter which is always a bonus.

Affordable Art Fair Battersea Spring

Given art collecting is typically a rather expensive hobby, nothing quite catches the attention like the word “affordable” when paired with "art". With prices capped at £6,000 the Affordable Art Fair is more certainly affordable than the likes of London Art Fair or Masterpiece London; however, the title is a touch misleading, as you'll find most pieces clustered towards the upper limit.

One of the most established fairs, you'll find it popping up in New York, Singapore, Hong Kong etc. across the year; whilst you can catch it three times in the UK alone at Hampstead and the larger Battersea. Amongst the party atmosphere of the fair fuelled by DJ's, champagne and this year, girls on stilts for some reason, you'll find plenty of good quality galleries exhibiting.

Admirers at Battersea Affordable Art Fair - Image Credit - Affordable Art Fair

Contemporary Art Fairs Surrey

There's not a lot to say about the contemporary art fairs really - perhaps 'nice' is the best way to describe them. There's three of them throughout the year In Newbury, Surrey and Windsor at their respective race courses. They seem to welcome everyone from galleries to artist collectives to independents. Consequently it's a bit of a mish-mash, but as with all of these things, there's a few hidden gems dotted around and prices don't stray above £4,000 and most are much less.

London Original Print Fair

Housed within the beautiful surrounds of the Royal Academy, this fair offers five centuries’ worth of original prints, to buy and to simply admire. It's a much more intimate and less crowded affair which makes it great to wander around; however, those with the impression that prints were cheap, might have to reconsider that opinion after attending this fair. With a strict selection criteria, you'll find just 50 expert exhibitors displaying works from the likes of Sigmund Freud, Cyril Power, Henri Matisse, Peter Howson, David Hockney and Grayson Perry. You will find some good options below the £1,000 mark however.

  • Where: The Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, Piccadilly, Mayfair, London W1J 0BD
  • When: 25th to 28th April 2019
  • Website: londonoriginalprintfair.com
A view into the stands at London Original Print Fair - Image Credit - The Arts Society

Fresh Art Fair Cheltenham

At the Cheltenham Race Course this April you won't find horses, just art...and coffee, champagne, talks, artists demonstrations and perhaps a few horse sculptures. Now in it's third year Fresh is growing to become a contender to the likes of the Affordable Art Fair - attracting around 50 leading galleries from around the UK who will be showing work from £100 to £20,000. Providing a convenient location for those outside the London bubble, it also has unlimited free parking which makes access very simple.

Affordable Art Fair Hampstead

The second instalment of AAF this time held in the salubrious North London district of Hampstead.

Contemporary Art Fairs Newbury

Instalment number 2 of the contemporary art fairs - a new venue replacing the previous Contemporary Art Fair Reading.

Photo London

Set within the impressive grounds of Somerset House, Photo London has established itself as a world-class photography Fair and as a catalyst for London’s dynamic photography community. Photographic art is undergoing an interesting transition with the advancement of digital technologies and the ubiquity of the smart phone camera. You'll find artists here pushing the boundaries of what is considered photography and employing some inventive techniques to capture their subjects! Along with the selection of the world’s leading galleries the Discovery section also highlights some of the most exciting emerging galleries and artists. Our only bug bear is the rather extortionate ticket prices!

Visitors milling around Somerset House for the Photo London Exhibition - Image Credit - Photo London

Draw Art Fair

Another newcomer - this art fair launching for the first time in 2019 will be the first to play host to modern and contemporary drawing and will be held at the Saatchi Gallery. 'It aims to present all facets of drawing as a fundamental practice and to create a platform where rare works by modern masters and recent works from the 21st century will stand side by side.' It adds to Saatchi's growing roster of fairs, maybe he's spotted a trend...

Glasgow Contemporary Art Fair

Scotland and in particular Glasgow has a fantastic heritage for art. Glasgow School of Art is touted as one of the best in the world and alumni include the likes of John Byrne and Peter Howson. This Fair gives you access to established Scottish artists and the pick of emerging artists including many Glasgow School of Art creatives with prices being on the affordable end of the spectrum.

  • Where: Marquee at Kelingrove Art Gallery & Museum, Argyle Street, Glasgow, G3 8AG
  • When: 17th - 19th May 2019
  • Website: http://www.gcaf.co.uk/
Live demonstrations at Glasgow Contemporary Art Fair - Image Credit - GCAF

Sussex Art Fairs (West)

Similar to Contemporary Art Fairs, these two fairs were launched as an alternative to the London-centric pull for art. Similar in format, established and emerging artists and galleries and artist collectives are all invited to exhibit leading to a diverse range of prices and styles.

Sussex Art Fairs (West) takes place at the world renowned Goodwood Racecourse in the heart of the picturesque Sussex Downs. T

Art & Antiques Fair Olympia

The first of two instalments, and the longer running of the two, returning to London for it's 47th edition, the Art & Antiques Fair Olympia offers access to an astounding 50,000 objects. Jewellery, ceramics, books, furniture and antiquities will be up for grabs at the UK’s largest art and antiques fair. Certainly a collector's paradise, you can get lost in the vast hall of the Olympia, picking out bargains or pushing the boat out with some pieces offered for an astounding £1 million!

An unusual sculpture at Art & Antique Fair Olympia - Image Credit - Country & Townhouse

Masterpiece London

Bringing together a rather more international crowd of exhibitors, at Masterpiece London you will find a grand cornucopia of art and design objects from all periods and origins. It's a heady mix of artefacts, where you'll likely blow a sizeable hole in your wallet should you feel the need to buy more than one item (well, even if you just buy one item really...). The impressive collection of sculpture is perhaps our favourite part.

The Other Art Fair

An expert selection committee chooses some ~130 artists to exhibit at this Saatchi sponsored art fair. Artists here are unrepresented and are usually very early on in their careers, so there's always an opportunity to pick up some good bargains. Whilst it won't be to everyone's taste (there's always some rather weird and wonderful choices from the selection committee), there is certainly the chance to find some hidden gems with some good investment potential.

Visitors squirm their way through a tight network of stands at The Other Art Fair - Image Credit - The Other Art Fair

Parallax Art Fair

Parallax ‘Art’ Fair was conceived by an artists for artists (and the website definitely looks like it was created by one). There's no selection committee and indeed anyone and everyone is invited to exhibit their work. It's definitely one of the least pretentious fairs out there, with the food and drinks options even reflecting a more casual and relaxed attitude to art buying! Without any formal curation however, you'll find a bit of an eclectic mix of more and less accomplished work, but prices are definitely reasonable, especially considering the Chelsea setting and attracts significant visitors.

  • Where: Chelsea Old Town Hall, King's Rd, Chelsea, London SW3 5EE
  • When: 6th - 7th July 2019 (Running again in October and February)
  • Website: https://www.parallaxaf.co/

The New Artist Fair

Run by the same troop as the Talented Art Fair above (Lemon Art - you might have noticed a trend here) this fair aims to bring you the latest crop of artistic talent. Since artists are just establishing themselves you'll find a bit of variation in quality, whilst prices are definitely on the more affordable end of the spectrum -£50 to £2000. A good one to have a quick snoop around and always interesting to speak to some of the artists directly.

  • Where: The Truman Brewery, Dray Walk, Ely's Yard, (off) Hanbury Street, London E1 6QR
  • When: 13th - 15th September 2019
  • Website: https://www.newartistfair.com

LAPADA Art & Antiques Fair

100 exhibitors present work from across the art, antiques, design and decorative arts spectrum in this veritable treasure trove of a fair. Including jewellery, furniture, carpets, tapestries, antiquities, clocks, ceramics, silver and fine art, authenticity is assured thanks to a 70-member specialist committee pre-vetting everything on sale. In a slightly more relaxed setting to the auction room, you are free to roam, look, touch, try on, buy and learn from the approachable cast of dealers. There's a mixture of old masters and contemporary favourites so hopefully you'll find a little bit of something for everyone!

Rugs, Furniture, paintings, chandeliers and much more at LAPADA - Image Credit - Adastra Lifestyle

Fresh Art Fair Ascot

Round 2 of Fresh Art Fair - this time as the Ascot Race Course. (I get the impression race courses attract the right type of crowd...)

START Art Fair

Emerging artists and young galleries from around the world are the focus of START, which comes to the Saatchi Gallery at the end of September, offering their predictions for the future of international contemporary art. For those struggling to see the difference between START and the Other Art Fair, this fair definitely focuses more on an international community of artists. It's a startling melange of colour and form and there's a diversity of thought and practice amongst artists from Buenos Aires to Taipei. Feeling more like an exhibition than a fair, this is an important one for artists reputations perhaps over their pockets.

South Korean artist Ung Pil Byen’s self-portraits at START Art Fair - Image Credit - Diary of a Londoness

Cambridge Art Fair

Launched in 2013 this fair has become one of the most well-established regional art fairs attracting a diverse range of galleries from around the UK. Providing the Eastern region of the UK with it's fix of art and culture, visitors can afterwards enjoy a stroll or even a punt round the delightful streets and waterways of Cambridge. It's said that many of the University profs love to indulge in a piece from this annual event.

  • Where: The Venue Marquee, Quy Mill Hotel & Spa, Church Road, Stow-cum-Quy. Cambridge CB25 9AF
  • When: 26th - 29th September 2019
  • Website: https://www.cambridgeartfair.com/

Pad London

PAD standing for the 'Pavilion of Art and Design' pitches it's famous black tent in the chic Berkeley Square, Mayfair, every October before Frieze week. Instead of showcasing the best in edgy or urban modern art, PAD is where you go if you have serious cash to splash on museum-worthy pieces. You'll find a rather eclectic mix of art, photography, ceramics, furniture, decorative and even tribal arts. But don't worry if you're not really looking for a new Ming vase for the hallway, just come along anyway to ogle and sip champers with the well-heeled collectors of London's elite.

PAD London Art + Design Fair - Image from LondonTown.com

British Art Fair

This 30 year old fair, which specialises in Modern and Post-War British art, was recently acquired by Robert and Johnny Sandelson who have ambitious plans to breathe new life into the event and to build the brand globally. Taking place in the large halls of Saatchi Gallery (you'll probably be sick of it by now!) the fair focuses exclusively on British Art - showcasing the early 20th century modernists to the Young British Artists. Initially it was founded on the premise that Modern British art was undervalued and needed a flagship, not quite the case today!

Frieze

London’s flagship art event, Frieze takes over Regent’s Park with two events: Frieze Art Fair and Frieze Masters. Attracting an international crowd of serious art buffs and celebrities, this is less of an art fair and more of an arts and social event.

Frieze London features forward-thinking works from more than 150 of the world’s top contemporary galleries. Meanwhile, Frieze Masters showcases art history throughout exhibitions by more than 100 leading international galleries, including ancient works, Old Masters' paintings and displays from the modern era. Go to see the best of long gone masters and revel in next modern art superstars. Expect to throw down £5,000+ if you want to take anything home!

Visitors enjoying the avant-garde work at Frieze - Photo Credit - Evening Standard

Moniker Art Fair

Attempting to be an antidote to West London uppity-ness (and perhaps Frieze too), Moniker takes place in the grungier, cooler streets of Shoreditch. And it has earned a reputation as one of the more exciting contemporary art fairs with it’s roots embedded in urban culture (visitors last year even entered the event through a rail track and a tunnel, a reference to the beginnings of street art when it was all about tagging the trains). For fans of street, urban and graffiti art this is the place to visit.

1-54 Contemporary Art Fair

Named for the 54 countries that make up Africa, this fair is dedicated to the leading artists and galleries from Africa and its diaspora. African Art is hot property nowadays. Art collectors love to be ahead of the curve, especially when a market is “emerging” and whilst African contemporary art is in demand prices are still within the reach of even new collectors. In London, the seventh edition of the pioneering African art fair 1-54 is attracting new and established collectors as well as curators from prestigious institutions such as LACMA, the Guggenheim, and Fondation Louis Vuitton.

“Black and Blue- The invisible Man and the Masque of Blackness”, by Zak Ove, at Somerset House in London October 4, 2016. Image Credit Reuters-stefan Wermut

Sussex Art Fairs (East)

Sussex Art Fair mark two - another racecourse another art fair. This time in the scenic surrounds of the suitably arty Brighton.

Affordable Art Fair Battersea Autumn

The final instalment of the AAF behemoth.

Manchester Buy Art Fair

Dubbed as 'The North's favourite art fair', the Manchester Art Fair, previously known as the Buy Art Fair takes place in the booming cultural central of Manchester. Following ten successful years, during which Northern art lovers and collectors have snapped up over £4m of contemporary art, the plan is to expand the Fair to create Manchester’s biggest weekend of arts & culture encompassing exhibitions, special events and offers at cultural institutions and the city’s leading food & drink operators. Definitely worth a trip up from the capital we say!

Visitors buzzing around Manchester Art Fair - Image Credit - Manchester Art Fair

Contemporary Art Fairs Windsor

Instalment number 3 of the Contemporary Art Fairs in the Royal Borough of Windsor. Take a chance to wander around the castle grounds if you can!

Winter Art & Antiques Fair Olympia

If you didn't have your fill in June the Art & Antiques fair returns to the Olympia for it's Winter edition. For those with deep pockets for special Christmas presents - mainly for themselves. As well as, furniture dating from the 16th century to 20th century, Art Deco furniture and objects, Asian antiques, textiles and carpets, glass, mirrors, silver and art from old masters to contemporary.

Asian Art in London

Sort of like an art fair and sort of not - Asian Art In London promotes its participating dealers and auction houses through a series of selling exhibitions, auctions, symposia and lectures taking place over ten days every November in London. A truly interesting and different array of contemporary and historic art from 16th - 20th Century is presented from across the Asian diaspora. Whilst 'Gallery hops' offers visitors the chance to hop from gallery to gallery during late night openings

  • Where: Various Locations around Central and West London (Kensington/Chelsea/St James)
  • When: 31st October - 9th November 2019
  • Website: https://www.asianartinlondon.com/
Asian Art from the Six Dynasties (220 to 581 AD) from the Collection of Norman A.Kurland on show at Eskenazi

Chester Art Fair

This is one of the largest artist-led art fairs outside the capital. It now attracts over 100 UK & international artists exhibiting a varied selection of visual arts including paintings, sculpture, photography, illustration, glass and ceramics. Set just outside the historic town of Chester, in the Racecourse, it provides a relaxed, split-level setting which helps reduce the feeling of weaving in and out of endless stands as some other fairs tend to!

Edinburgh Art Fair

Rounding off the year's art calendar is the always exciting Edinburgh Art Fair. Edinburgh's reputation as a cultural hub and popular tourist destination has helped grow this fair to become perhaps the most prestigious outside of London. Scotland produces a disproportionate amount of artistic talent for its size and here you'll find emerging artists through to established and collected Royal Academicians across a broad range of styles and genres.