Last night, the preview evening of the 23rd annual London Art Fair opened the doors of the Islington Business Design Centre to several hundred well-heeled art lovers.
Drinking the free bubbly and unwittingly rubbing shoulders with slebs (well, we spotted the towering shape of Jim Broadbent), viewers were able to enjoy a vast selection of modern and contemporary, mostly British art.
While we recognised quite a few pieces from last year's show there also seemed to be more "big names" on offer, such as Riley, Lowry, Hockney and Aitchinson.
Perhaps as a sign that we are indeed all in this together, prices were slightly lower than last year (from about £800) and there seemed to be less really expensive stuff (although we did spot a small woodcut for £100,000). On the whole, this show is now in a similar price league to the Affordable Art Fair which took place a couple of months ago in Battersea.
We discerned a few popular themes. Butterflies and collages recurred, as well as those Victorian glass cloches used to protect intricate flowery memorials (see picture 3). The balance between abstract works and landscape (both forming the vast majority of what is on offer) seems to have remained the same.
London, represented mostly by views of St Paul's and the Thames, takes a less prominent place in the exhibition this year. Our selection of cameraphone images above show almost everything Londony there is to see.
The London Art Fair 2011 is at the Business Design Centre in Islington, N1 until Sunday. Tickets £11 in advance, £15 on the door. Photos by zefrog.