Thursday, 30 June 2011

Salvo Fair, Knebworth

Went off to the Salvo Fair earlier in the week.

I still remember Knebworth as a place where psychedelic raves and music festivals were held. It’s all a bit quieter these days… or perhaps it’s just me that’s quieter – viz: “The grounds of Knebworth House near the village of Knebworth has become a major venue for open air rock and pop concerts since 1974 when The Allman Brothers Band attracted 60,000 at the first large concert held at the venue.

Since then, it has been the scene of outdoor extravaganzas featuring Pink Floyd (1975 & 1990), The Rolling Stones & Lynyrd Skynyrd (1976), Genesis (1978, 1990 & 1992), Frank Zappa (1978), Led Zeppelin (1979), Mike Oldfield & The Beach Boys (1980), Cliff Richard (1983 & 1990), Deep Purple (1985), Queen (1986), Pink Floyd, Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, Elton John & Dire Straits (1990), Oasis (1996), Robbie Williams (2003) Sonisphere Festival (2009/2010).”

The Salvo Fair is the usual eclectic mix of bygones, architectural salvage, fascinating small antiques and general rubbish.

There’s always something literally monumental near the entrance and you would need to be building your own minor stately home to make use of it. Indeed, that’s the way a number of historic buildings got their various features – by recycling them from other, older buildings. Or, Like Peter Jackson in his settings for Lord of the Rings, you could strew them around the landscape to give an impression of an earlier, grander history.

I did rather like these box pews, but have no idea where I would put them. There seemed to be rather a lot of pews, and some religious statues – see later. Looks like a number of churches are closing and being demolished.

I always go looking for inspiration for my stained glass and there’s always plenty. Here, some beautiful plain art nouveau glass just to teach us that not everything has to be wildly coloured to be entrancing.

This marble floor really knocked me out. It would be worth building a house just to have somewhere to put it!

More stained glass in various sizes: the 4 dividing doors were spectacular – totally undamaged and very tall. They extend below the piece of glass that’s leaning against their bases.

More, and lovelier.

If you were refurbishing a house or building from scratch – this is exactly what you would need: multiples of knobs, handles and other fittings, all matching. One wonders where they have come from.

There’s also, I have to say, rather a lot of what is simply junk...

And here’s more junk. Makes a good photo, but wouldn’t want to expend any hard-earned cash on it.

And just what would you do with these rather forlorn statues (though the fireman looks more cheerful)

Back to the monumental and a 7ft high cast iron urn for the garden.

This is a child’s (play) shepherding hut converted from a chicken shed. It’s a bit twee and makes me think of sending children up the chimneys or out into the fields to glean discarded ears of wheat.

A Yellow submarine – not a film prop but a genuine working 2 man sub.

And this is the iconic tribunal desk that appeared on the Salvo website – hold your own trials! I don’t know whether they sold it.

But what I really wanted was this Blue flashed starburst glass. I didn’t really want to spend the money while I was there but will probably drive down to the Cotswolds to buy from the dealer.
Altogether, this year’s Salvo Fair was much like last year’s – full of fascinating objects but. We thought, very over-priced. Whether this is because it’s the Salvo Fair and they get all sorts of people who don’t know the market or whether they start high, knowing that their customers are knowledgeable and will drive a hard bargain.
We enjoyed it but didn’t really spend (we bought a couple of small teapots made for P&O in the 50s; that’s all).

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