Whether you’re a seasoned connoisseur or a collector who’s just starting out, this season’s London art fairs are sure to impress. Maybe you’re in the market for a Fabergé objet d’art or an exceptional piece of 1950s furniture. Or perhaps you’re looking for an original Julian Opie print or to pick up a piece by a future YBA. Whatever your taste, autumn promises a dazzling array of artists, galleries, displays and arts programmes at the capital’s leading art and design fairs.
The Glossary Edit
London Art Fairs
London Design Fair
The Truman Brewery, Shoreditch
21 - 24 September
After a three-year hiatus, London Design Fair brings its unique mix of established and new-gen designers and avant-garde brands back to the heart of Shoreditch. Indeed, this promises to be one of the best London art fairs to visit this Autumn. There’ll be fascinating talks and interactive workshops, as well as pavilions including a Design Alumni Pavilion, highlighting emerging talent; a British Craft Pavilion with the very best British craftsmanship; and international pavilions from Sweden to South Korea.
A new Sustainable Materials Showcase – a display of materials used and repurposed in an innovative way – includes work by 2LG Studio (don’t miss their The Power of Colour immersive entrance) and Homes with a Heart curated by stylist Roddy Clarke. The fair also sees the introduction of a new prize for emerging talent, the Togetherness Design Award 2023 in collaboration with YOYO Design, with the three finalists each unveiling their prototype on 22 September.
Berkeley Square, Mayfair
27 September - 1 October
LAPADA, established in 1974, is the largest society of professional art and antique dealers in Europe, with over 500 worldwide members, all experts across fine art and sculpture to jewellery, furniture and ceramics. Now, for the first time, the LAPADA Berkeley Square Fair is open to non-member dealers too.
As a result, the exhibitors at this decorative arts fair are more varied than ever before, with a wealth of museum-worthy works, spanning centuries. Whether you’re in the market for a late 19th-century Fabergé enamelled frame, a grand piano designed by avant-garde Danish architect-designer Poul Henningsen, a piece of vintage Bulgari, Cartier and Boucheron jewellery or a painting by Bridget Riley, you’ll find it here.
Berkeley Square, Mayfair
10 - 15 October
This is a special year for PAD London, as it celebrates its 15th Edition in its landmark location of Mayfair’s Berkeley Square. Founded in 2007 by fourth-generation Parisian antique dealer Patrick Perrin, as the sister to PAD Paris, it is the UK’s only art fair exclusively dedicated to 20th century and contemporary design.
62 galleries from 16 countries will be at the fair, including 13 first-time exhibitors. These newcomers include Objects with Narratives, who will be presenting Mircea Anghel’s bold, gravity-defying furniture, while Galeria Philia will stage a curated exhibition of brand-new onyx works and Unforget will showcase exceptional 1950s pieces by French pioneers Jacques Adnet and Line Vautrin. Expect all the usual exhibitors too, plus a glittering display from eight leading contemporary and high jewellery galleries.
Frieze London and Frieze Masters
11 - 15 October
It’s the 20th anniversary of Frieze in London, so expect quite a show in Regent’s Park. A dynamic programme of special projects, partnerships and events will shine a light on London’s rich cultural landscape. Expect collaborations with key arts organisations and public institutions, including a special project with Outset Contemporary Art Fund installed in the entrance corridor and an offsite project with the Institute of Contemporary Arts.
As always, leading contemporary galleries (Sadie Coles HQ, Alison Jacques, White Cube, Pilar Corrias…) will be shining a light on the most exciting artists of our generation. The special initiative Artist-to-Artist, which sees big hitters championing new voices, this year includes Tracey Emin and Wolfgang Tillmans; while Yinka Shonibare will be collaborating with long-time global lead partner Deutsche Bank. A short stroll across the park is Frieze Masters, where heavyweight galleries and dealers display works across 6000 years of art history with two new sections: Studio, initiated by Sheena Wagstaff, and Modern Women, steered by Camille Morineau and non-profit organisation AWARE.
Saatchi Gallery, Chelsea
11 - 15 October
2023 is a year of celebration for StART too, as the art fair marks a decade at Saatchi Gallery. StART brings the work of lesser-known artistic communities – those ‘starting’ out on their creative journey – in front of established and emerging collectors. All three floors of the light-flooded space will be filled with a wonderfully eclectic array of work, from independent artists and global galleries, across multiple mediums.
Particular highlights include the Belgian artist Olicia de Posson and British paper sculptor Lisa Lloyd, as well as Premium Pages and One East Asia galleries from Singapore. Do look out for Cambridge gallery The Art Hound, who are presenting the ‘art of Rock and Roll’ with works by a variety of artists including photographer Scarlet Page, daughter of Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy.
Women in Art Fair
Mall Galleries, St James’s
11 - 14 October
The Women in Art Fair (WIAF) is a new initiative which seeks to redress the gender imbalance in the art industry. The inaugural edition will occupy all three spaces at Mall Galleries, providing a positive platform from which female artists, curators and gallerists can show their work, with the four-day event inviting everyone to consider ideas about gender, sexuality and culture.
While the West Gallery will house a booth-style fair and the North Gallery an exhibition of work by artists selected via an Open Call, the East Gallery will showcase an exhibition entitled Unnatural Women. Curated by Rowena Easton, expect work by female artists (everyone from the greats like Paula Rego and Jean Cooke to established contemporary names and emerging talent) that explores our ambivalent relationship with the ‘natural world’. Juxtaposing ‘traditional female’ craft such as textiles with ‘traditional male’ craft including technological work, the show aims “to make visitors question our understanding of wilderness and landscape”.
The Other Art Fair
The Truman Brewery, Shoreditch
12 - 15 October
The clue is perhaps in the name but The Other Art Fair, presented by Saatchi Art, seeks to turn the traditional art fair on its head. The fair – which has editions across the world, from Los Angeles to Sydney – invites “creative thinkers, game changers and pleasure seekers” to experience art differently. No conventions or elitism here. Instead, think DJs, live poetry and artwork that challenges and truly excites.
This year, over 150 artists are represented but the highlight has to be the celebration of Gods Own Junkyard. The four-generation family of neon makers has been lighting up London, whether on film sets, fashion shoots or in celebrity’s houses (Stella McCartney, Elton John and Kate Moss are all fans) for 70 years. To mark the occasion, they have created an immersive installation of their iconic pieces from the past seven decades, which will be showcased at the Fair. As well as experiencing this one-time curation of neon and having the rare opportunity to purchase works, visitors will be able to have their photo taken by photographer David Ellis amongst a one-of-a-kind Gods Own Junkyard 70s Soho set.
Affordable Art Fair
19 - 22 October
The Affordable Art Fair returns to Battersea once again, its premise to democratise the art world and make art fun and accessible to all. More than 100 leading national and international galleries will be displaying thousands of contemporary artworks in all styles and mediums – but the one thing they all have in common? They’re all priced below £7,500, with many under £500.
This year, there’s a particular spotlight on abstract art, as well as the theme of nature and climate. Particular highlights include the annual Recent Graduates Exhibition, a chance to see and snap up the very best new talent. An exhibition Abstract Contemplations, curated by Lisa Anderson and Brian Maina of Black British Art, shines a light on the rich and diverse creativity of African Diaspora artists through the lens of abstraction, As always, there will also be special installations, talks, late nights and family hour – which allows families to enjoy the fair with fewer crowds.
Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair
Woolwich Works, Royal Arsenal
26 - 29 October
Established by gallerists Jack and Lizzie Glendinning, WCPF is the largest art fair in Europe dedicated to print works, with over 1000 originals on display, across many styles and techniques. The fair was founded not only to situate the medium within the wider context of contemporary art but also to encourage art that’s accessible for all, whether that’s through pricing or enabling budding collectors to go behind the scenes with exhibiting galleries and artists through their year-round Patrons of Print scheme.
This October, there’ll be prints from rising stars to major names. David Shrigley will be making his highly anticipated exclusive original print debut courtesy of Jealous gallery; TAG Fine Arts will present the launch of a new limited-edition work by David Spiller; and Atelier Rose and Gray will showcase Gavin Turk’s latest egg works, as well as bring Sir Michael Craig Martin, Julian Opie and Christopher Le Brun to the fair – to name a very few. The online edition is 26 October to 5 November.