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Spitalfields Antiques Market 5

April 22, 2010
by the gentle author

This is Eric Holah who was a buyer before he was a seller. When he moved house, Spitalfields became the obvious place to sell off his clutter. “Council Estate Chic, that’s my look,” he explained mischievously, “I am obsessed with collecting, so this was my way to get rid of stuff.” Once he began selling, something unexpected happened, he became addicted to coming here, so now Eric buys to sell. “Last week, I had a week off and I couldn’t even walk through the market because I didn’t want to see who had my pitch – I knew if I saw it I would want to rearrange their stall,” revealed Eric, rolling his eyes in self-parody.

This is the radiant Caroline Dill who loves everything from the nineteen sixties, especially bold floral prints and vanity cases. Although it was her mum who grew up in the sixties and passed on the enthusiasm, with her long straight auburn hair and pale round face, Caroline Dill certainly has the look of that era. Among her selection of colourful vintage luggage, the original Pan-Am flight bag is especially covetable. “My flat used to be completely sixties, but by my partner’s not so keen on it, so now we meet somewhere in the middle.” she confided sagely, clutching her funky tangerine ice bucket protectively.

This is the gregarious and charismatic Griff, caught in a rare contemplative moment behind his stall. “I have been buying and selling since I was fourteen,” explained Griff, by way of introduction. As a sculptor, he started in the antique business by restoring broken stone sculptures and selling them, but has since diversified into wood, marble and granite sculpture too, as well as painting and ceramics. Griff has a keen eye and an amenable manner, and we enjoyed puzzled over the large earthenware pot you can see on the stall with two dragons incised in the glaze, which is his current object of fascination.

This genial gentleman is Davey, who came in September to give it a try and has been coming back ever since. “It was a new venture, I started selling off things I had collected over the years,” explained Davey, before he was interrupted by an enquiry about his Cheyne Patent Skirt Gauge. It was a costume expert who confirmed the gauge for sale on Davey’s stall dated from the flapper era, when hemlines went from the ankle to the knee in five years. “You can’t know everything about things from the past,” enthused Davey in delight, afterwards, “That’s why I came here, because there’s so much to discover.”

Photographs copyright © Jeremy Freedman

One Response leave one →
  1. Candice permalink
    April 22, 2010

    Next time I am in London, I’m going to have to go to the antiques market — I love your descriptions of the vendors.

    Hope all is well in London.


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