Antiques News & Fairs
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ANF Blog

In Conversation with ... Jane Alexander of Dovehouse Fine Antiques Fairs

Continuing our series In conversation with, we talk to Jane Alexander of Dovehouse Fine Antiques Fairs who has acquired the much missed Little Chelsea Antiques Fair held at Chelsea Old Town Hall on the King's Road, Chelsea for 40 years.

Now rebranded as Little Chelsea Antiques and Decorative Arts Fair, the first edition under Jane's organisaiton takes place from 2 - 3 March 2020 with the next fair taking place in October 2020.. 

Dovehouse Fine Antiques Fairs also organise the Dorking Halls Antiques Fairs in Surrey.


 

Antiques News & Fairs - In Conversation with ... Jane Alexander of Dovehouse Fine Antiques Fairs

Jane Alexander

ANF: How did you get the realm of fair organising realm and what did you do before this?  Tell us about your former life!

JA:  I have been very lucky to have studied & worked in art/design related professions which interestingly, in one way or another, has blended perfectly in organising these events. I originally trained as a textile designer which led to establishing a London based interior design company. 

After 12 very busy years I got itchy feet and decided I wanted to add another string to the bow so I returned to university to study Fine Arts Valuation and a 2 year Masters at the Royal College of Art. 

Academia & arts was still calling & was offered a lecture post to teach undergraduates, (120 of them) & deal in antiques/design for the interiors market.

Not satisfied with just that, I established my first antiques fair in Cobham, Surrey, in 2012, was offered Dorking Halls 2 years later and now Little Chelsea 2020. 

You could say I like variety and a challenge!

ANF: We hear that the fair has been warmly welcomed back, tell us about some of the responses from the trade.

JA:  Now in its 40th year, The Little Chelsea Fair always had a great following and most definitely missed since temporarily closing in 2018 so, the news has been met with great enthusiasm from the trade .

Variety and standards are always my aim with these events so adding the Decorative Arts to the fair received a very positive response generating new exhibitors & buyers to the event.  Being located in centre of one of the key destinations for the interiors market, and the benefit of my experience in the same profession offered an opportunity not to be missed.

Antiques News & Fairs - In Conversation with ... Jane Alexander of Dovehouse Fine Antiques Fairs

Chelsea Town Hall

Antiques News & Fairs - In Conversation with ... Jane Alexander of Dovehouse Fine Antiques Fairs

Chelsea College. 1756


ANF: With Cobham, Dorking Halls and now Chelsea, how many fairs do you run each year?

JA:  We run 9 one day fairs a year at the Dorking Halls - from January to June and September to November inclusive.  We ran Cobham on the same basis but decided to close this one in 2014 to amalgamate with Dorking where the venue could provide more space and potential to expand.  With little distance between the two, our exhibitors were very happy to join us there & proved to be a very successful decision.

Little Chelsea is a two day fair run twice a year – March & October - March being our first one under our management and, for the moment, to keep it as two per year with a view to perhaps increase the number of days in the future .

ANF: This is quite a lot of organisation, how many are there on your team and do you find it easy to delegate?

JA:  Whatever size of event there is always a lot to do. As an organiser you have to try and anticipate as much as you can, preparing for any curveballs that you may be presented with. I admit delegation is not my greatest strength but have to be realistic with how much you can take on yourself.

Antiques News & Fairs - The Petworth Park Antiques & Fine Art Fair - 15 - 17 May 2020

The Rug Studio - Kilim Chair (Pintu Stripe), Origin India, Circa 2000’s.

ANF: You have booked an impressive 60 exhibitors for the launch of Chelsea, tell us about a few of them and how you have balanced the new addition of Decorative Arts dealers and interior designers with the original dealers?

JA:  The aim is to create an event that excites and inspires. We now include glass, ceramic, fine art, together with the Decorative Arts including textiles, lighting, mirrors, rugs, furniture etc, and these dealers all play a vital part in creating an atmosphere to motivate creativity and satisfaction finding that special statement piece or simply something personal making for a memorable occasion for both the exhibitors and the buyers. 

With that in mind, the exhibitors offer a whole variety of styles, influences and origins of antiques, Decorative Arts including  Chris Webb, (CW Antiques) who has the most fascinating mix from early tribal, to ecclesiastical, European medieval and later wood carving; Montpelier Interiors covering both Swedish & French furniture and decorative arts; Noel Chapman (Bleu Englais) who specialises in beautiful Chinese folk textiles & Linda & Kevin Hetherington (HaresFur) in 20th century Scandinavian design including fine art, ceramics, glass, rugs & jewellery. 

One could say it’s as much a journey around the globe as one around the various arts.

In Conversation with ... Jane Alexander of Dovehouse Fine Antiques Fairs


I. Jansen / Venice4U - Oil on Canvas continental school depicting image of Lady with Dog. Late 18th / early 19th century.


ANF:  How many of the exhibitors are former exhibitors from earlier incarnations of Little Chelsea?  In the past the fair attracted exhibitors from across the UK – is the mix similar now?

JA:  We are very proud to have a fantastic core number of stand holders who joined at different times & still very much love being at Little Chelsea including the original organiser, Carolyn Stoddart–Scott & existing stand holders at Dorking.  We are also very pleased to introduce new people to Little Chelsea also from my fair in Dorking and other leading events around the country making up a great mix of interests to cover the individual specialisms.   

ANF: Have you engaged with any of the antiques trade on the King’s Road while working on Little Chelsea and what has been their feedback?

JA:  We have visited all over, including the Lille Road, Kings Road, Church Street, Portabello & down to Petworth, Sussex and we met with huge encouragement & affection for the fair and again expressing their support for adding the Decorative Arts, reinforcing our decision.

ANF: Do you get tempted by the wonderful pieces you see at your events?  This is of course an occupational hazard!

JA:  Oh yes, to me it’s like walking into a giant sweetie shop.  Anyone in this profession I think is ‘afflicted’ and with my background goodness knows what I am going to be like at Chelsea!

ANF: Do you have any exciting plans for your stable of events going forward?

JA:  Our decision to expand the size of Dorking in 2018 has been a tremendous success and maintaining standards and variety continues to draw an ever increasing fabulous variety of stand holders & increased footfall.  We can once again look to expand the event a little further at Dorking but for the moment Little Chelsea is the ‘new baby’ and therefore want to focus on not only maintaining the great mix but capitalise on its location.

ANF: With such a busy schedule, how do you manage your work / life balance?

JA:  Very good question, just at the moment, I’m afraid work has been the dominant force, especially with the relaunch and rebranding of Little Chelsea.  However, when I do get some down time I do like to be away, ideally, somewhere that is a little warmer than the UK … dream on for the moment.

Antiques News & Fairs - In Conversation with ... Jane Alexander of Dovehouse Fine Antiques Fairs





Antiques News Blog

In Conversation with ... Jane Alexander of Dovehouse Fine Antiques Fairs

Continuing our series In conversation with, we talk to Jane Alexander of Dovehouse Fine Antiques Fairs who has acquired the much missed Little Chelsea Antiques Fair held at Chelsea Old Town Hall on the King's Road, Chelsea for 40 years.

Now rebranded as Little Chelsea Antiques and Decorative Arts Fair, the first edition under Jane's organisaiton takes place from 2 - 3 March 2020 with the next fair taking place in October 2020.. 

Dovehouse Fine Antiques Fairs also organise the Dorking Halls Antiques Fairs in Surrey.


 

Antiques News & Fairs - In Conversation with ... Jane Alexander of Dovehouse Fine Antiques Fairs

Jane Alexander

ANF: How did you get the realm of fair organising realm and what did you do before this?  Tell us about your former life!

JA:  I have been very lucky to have studied & worked in art/design related professions which interestingly, in one way or another, has blended perfectly in organising these events. I originally trained as a textile designer which led to establishing a London based interior design company. 

After 12 very busy years I got itchy feet and decided I wanted to add another string to the bow so I returned to university to study Fine Arts Valuation and a 2 year Masters at the Royal College of Art. 

Academia & arts was still calling & was offered a lecture post to teach undergraduates, (120 of them) & deal in antiques/design for the interiors market.

Not satisfied with just that, I established my first antiques fair in Cobham, Surrey, in 2012, was offered Dorking Halls 2 years later and now Little Chelsea 2020. 

You could say I like variety and a challenge!

ANF: We hear that the fair has been warmly welcomed back, tell us about some of the responses from the trade.

JA:  Now in its 40th year, The Little Chelsea Fair always had a great following and most definitely missed since temporarily closing in 2018 so, the news has been met with great enthusiasm from the trade .

Variety and standards are always my aim with these events so adding the Decorative Arts to the fair received a very positive response generating new exhibitors & buyers to the event.  Being located in centre of one of the key destinations for the interiors market, and the benefit of my experience in the same profession offered an opportunity not to be missed.

Antiques News & Fairs - In Conversation with ... Jane Alexander of Dovehouse Fine Antiques Fairs

Chelsea Town Hall

Antiques News & Fairs - In Conversation with ... Jane Alexander of Dovehouse Fine Antiques Fairs

Chelsea College. 1756


ANF: With Cobham, Dorking Halls and now Chelsea, how many fairs do you run each year?

JA:  We run 9 one day fairs a year at the Dorking Halls - from January to June and September to November inclusive.  We ran Cobham on the same basis but decided to close this one in 2014 to amalgamate with Dorking where the venue could provide more space and potential to expand.  With little distance between the two, our exhibitors were very happy to join us there & proved to be a very successful decision.

Little Chelsea is a two day fair run twice a year – March & October - March being our first one under our management and, for the moment, to keep it as two per year with a view to perhaps increase the number of days in the future .

ANF: This is quite a lot of organisation, how many are there on your team and do you find it easy to delegate?

JA:  Whatever size of event there is always a lot to do. As an organiser you have to try and anticipate as much as you can, preparing for any curveballs that you may be presented with. I admit delegation is not my greatest strength but have to be realistic with how much you can take on yourself.

Antiques News & Fairs - The Petworth Park Antiques & Fine Art Fair - 15 - 17 May 2020

The Rug Studio - Kilim Chair (Pintu Stripe), Origin India, Circa 2000’s.

ANF: You have booked an impressive 60 exhibitors for the launch of Chelsea, tell us about a few of them and how you have balanced the new addition of Decorative Arts dealers and interior designers with the original dealers?

JA:  The aim is to create an event that excites and inspires. We now include glass, ceramic, fine art, together with the Decorative Arts including textiles, lighting, mirrors, rugs, furniture etc, and these dealers all play a vital part in creating an atmosphere to motivate creativity and satisfaction finding that special statement piece or simply something personal making for a memorable occasion for both the exhibitors and the buyers. 

With that in mind, the exhibitors offer a whole variety of styles, influences and origins of antiques, Decorative Arts including  Chris Webb, (CW Antiques) who has the most fascinating mix from early tribal, to ecclesiastical, European medieval and later wood carving; Montpelier Interiors covering both Swedish & French furniture and decorative arts; Noel Chapman (Bleu Englais) who specialises in beautiful Chinese folk textiles & Linda & Kevin Hetherington (HaresFur) in 20th century Scandinavian design including fine art, ceramics, glass, rugs & jewellery. 

One could say it’s as much a journey around the globe as one around the various arts.

In Conversation with ... Jane Alexander of Dovehouse Fine Antiques Fairs


I. Jansen / Venice4U - Oil on Canvas continental school depicting image of Lady with Dog. Late 18th / early 19th century.


ANF:  How many of the exhibitors are former exhibitors from earlier incarnations of Little Chelsea?  In the past the fair attracted exhibitors from across the UK – is the mix similar now?

JA:  We are very proud to have a fantastic core number of stand holders who joined at different times & still very much love being at Little Chelsea including the original organiser, Carolyn Stoddart–Scott & existing stand holders at Dorking.  We are also very pleased to introduce new people to Little Chelsea also from my fair in Dorking and other leading events around the country making up a great mix of interests to cover the individual specialisms.   

ANF: Have you engaged with any of the antiques trade on the King’s Road while working on Little Chelsea and what has been their feedback?

JA:  We have visited all over, including the Lille Road, Kings Road, Church Street, Portabello & down to Petworth, Sussex and we met with huge encouragement & affection for the fair and again expressing their support for adding the Decorative Arts, reinforcing our decision.

ANF: Do you get tempted by the wonderful pieces you see at your events?  This is of course an occupational hazard!

JA:  Oh yes, to me it’s like walking into a giant sweetie shop.  Anyone in this profession I think is ‘afflicted’ and with my background goodness knows what I am going to be like at Chelsea!

ANF: Do you have any exciting plans for your stable of events going forward?

JA:  Our decision to expand the size of Dorking in 2018 has been a tremendous success and maintaining standards and variety continues to draw an ever increasing fabulous variety of stand holders & increased footfall.  We can once again look to expand the event a little further at Dorking but for the moment Little Chelsea is the ‘new baby’ and therefore want to focus on not only maintaining the great mix but capitalise on its location.

ANF: With such a busy schedule, how do you manage your work / life balance?

JA:  Very good question, just at the moment, I’m afraid work has been the dominant force, especially with the relaunch and rebranding of Little Chelsea.  However, when I do get some down time I do like to be away, ideally, somewhere that is a little warmer than the UK … dream on for the moment.

Antiques News & Fairs - In Conversation with ... Jane Alexander of Dovehouse Fine Antiques Fairs