The London Antique Rug & Textile Art Fair (LARTA) is the UK’s annual fair dedicated to the appreciation of antique rug and textile art. For the first time, this year’s Fair took place entirely online – becoming LARTA Virtual 2021. The ‘Tent’ at Battersea, where previous editions of LARTA have been located, went digital.
On the 26th January 2021, LARTA Virtual 2021 was launched online and on Instagram (@lartarugfair). At 14:00 (GMT) LARTA’s website went live, attracting a staggering 31,000 visitors from across the globe who were able to discover, learn and shop safely from their homes. During these challenging times, LARTA remained committed to promoting this vibrant art form to a wide audience and providing a space for a shared appreciation of rugs and textile art. LARTA’s e-attendees could browse over five hundred weavings from across the world, from contemporary rugs to tribal weavings.
LARTA Virtual 2021 was an extended version of the Fair in every sense of the word, taking place over a longer period of three weeks until the 14th February 2021. The eleventh edition of LARTA continued to expand and evolve, with a diverse array of pieces, fresh online initiatives and a growing contingent of exhibitors. LARTA’s organisers were delighted to welcome back fifteen regular, loyal LARTA exhibitors – a number of whom had been participants since the Fair’s founding in 2011 – who were joined by five new specialist dealers. Visitors were able to meet some of the dealers, hear their stories and explore their spaces through videos and virtual tours.
An exciting special feature of LARTA Virtual 2021 was the ‘Pick of the Fair’. Daniel Shaffer, Executive Editor of HALI Magazine, the world’s leading publication on antique carpets and textiles, highlighted his top picks on offer at LARTA Virtual 2021. He selected thirty pieces that caught his eye for their visual and material quality, or which simply piqued his curiosity. Shaffer’s highlights included an Asafo flag from the Cape Coast, Ghana and a north-western Persian zodiacal rug. Shaffer's 'Pick of the Fair' is still available to view on our website, along with LARTA Virtual 2021’s Buying Guide for both seasoned and aspiring collectors.