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Dealer Josephine Roberts (shown at IACF Ardingly). She will be one of the standholders at the Peterborough Festival of Antiques.

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The event runs on Friday and Saturday, April 15-16, at the East of England Showground. Thomas said: “We are really looking forward to what will be our first Easter fair since taking over the festival of antiques in 2019. All the marquee village stands have sold out and we’ve had more bookings than ever in the Pavilion, with only very few stalls still available in the other halls.”

Thomas added: “It’s been a challenging few years during the pandemic but we’re looking ahead to a busy and successful festival without as many tough restrictions while continuing to take the necessary safety precautions.”

From a large line-up of dealers standing at the festival, below is a short focus on three of them, plus one dealer who will be there with her buying antennae on the twitch.

Buying hunt

It’s lucky that Josephine Roberts is smiling in our picture as the steel arms gripping her head look like robotic instruments of torture instead of being part of the vintage French hairdryer that it actually is.

Photographed at last month’s IACF Ardingly, the antiques dealer – whom some will recognise from BBC One’s The Bidding Room – will be at Peterborough on a buying hunt.

She said: “As a former artist I’m naturally drawn to items with a sculptural quality, pieces that have had a previous function and now have another as decorative object, like the dryer. I’m also drawn to artworks and ceramics is an utter weakness of mine as it’s so tactile – anything from the Aesthetic Movement makes me go weak at the knees.”

Inuit culture

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Inuit figure of a woman holding a fish priced at £170 from Christine and Nigel Pieters at the Peterborough Festival of Antiques..

Christine and Nigel Pieters deal in the beautifully observed soapstone sculptures made by the Inuit as celebrations of their culture.

The sculptures they are bringing to the festival were made largely in the 1960s or later, with some having the artist’s name on the base in Inuit hieroglyphs, while others have an E number given by the trading posts around Hudson Bay and northern Canada.

Prices start from £40, with, for example, a mother and baby grouping by the carver Jimmy Arnamissak (1946-2003) at £175, peaking at a narwhal sculpture with marine ivory tusks at around £550. The slanting figure of a woman holding a fish pictured here is priced at £170.

Paddles present

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Captain George Metcalfe.

Image: Bain Collection, Library of Congress, USA

Combining maritime and tribal elements is a pair of c.1910 ceremonial paddles gifted by the Duala people in Cameroon to the much decorated Captain George Metcalfe, the first commodore of the White Star Line, during an inaugural journey heading to Australia.

These passed to Metcalfe’s nephew and will be for sale with a family letter of provenance by dealer Howard Emmerson of Class Antiques. The paddles are priced at £795 the pair.

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Howard Emmeron of Class Antiques with a pair of c.1910 ceremonial paddles gifted by the Duala people in Cameroon to Captain George Metcalfe, the first commodore of the White Star Line, which are priced at £795 at the Peterborough Festival of Antiques.

Corking purchase

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A c.1900 French bottle corker priced at £250 by Parade Antiques at the Peterborough Festival of Antiques.

This sculptural-looking bit of equipment is in fact a c.1900 French bottle corker which puts the cork into a bottle, as you might guess. Priced at £250, there is also an attachment for half bottles.

Dealer Michael Wilton of Parade Antiques in Newcastle-under-Lyme is bringing plenty of his top-selling kitchenalia stock of vintage coffee dispensers, scales, pastry jiggers and the rest to the festival, including the corker. “I have clients all over the world and private museums, including supplying large coffee grinders to South Korea as well as treen to New Zealand and Australia”, he said.

iacf.co.uk