Spitalfields Antiques Market 26
This sassy lady is Charlotte Sellers who grew up above a shop called “Junktique” that was run by her mother. “The shop was so small, rammed with chandeliers, glass and furniture etc that I was parked in my pram on the pavement outside.” she explained in fond reminiscence, “People would stop and ask inside the shop for the best price on the baby.” Charlotte’s father traded in military watches and important automobiles while her aunt traded in jewellery and coins. “It’s been in the family a long time, this second hand furniture business,” she informed me proudly, “I’m currently upholstering a bunch of chairs from the Battle of Waterloo.” But, whether Charlotte was referring to their origin in a pub of that name, or from the actual battleground, or merely the period of the seating in question, I never discovered.
This cheery fellow is Chris Williams. “I’ve only been back four months and I love every second of it,” he declared with aplomb, assuming a philosophical detachment from his own caprice, “I actually started in the market when I left school at sixteen in 1976, but I gave it up in 1986 thinking I could find better things in life to do.” After a career in transport, Chris is now like a lion let out of a cage. “I ran a courier company that I started in my bedroom and it went to twenty-five vans – then I sold it,” he confessed with a happy flourish. “I love looking for a bargain. I love selling things and meeting lots of different people, and in Spitalfields Market you meet lots of different people!”
These enigmatic women in black are Marcellina Amelia & Rebecca Dewinter who met while studying illustration at Westminster University and live in a big old warehouse in Bow, full of things they have collected. “This is how we make our money,” revealed Marcellina, with stark candour, gesturing to their stall, “because we are both artists.” Yet as well as their own personal artistic endeavours, Marcellina & Rebecca also contrive exotic jewellery and cleverly rework old clothes which you can see at Ivory Jar. “Sometimes we give stuff away too cheap because people beg us for things,” Marcellina whispered with a helpless grin, placing a hand protectively over a suitcase full of ducklings rendered in lifelike taxidermy,“We regret selling stuff we really like.”
This dignified figure is Roy Price who can be forgiven for looking a little fatigued because he just returned from Dorset, leaving at nine the previous evening to arrive back in London at one and then get up at six to come to the market. But Roy had no regrets. “I’ve done really well today,” he confided to me with a weary yet satisfied smile, “I’m so glad I came back.” Roy specialises in eighteenth century antiques. “I’ve traded from when I was eighteen because my dad did it and he used to sell this kind of stuff.” Roy said – assuring me even as his eyelids were drooping, “I do know what I’m doing and I’m knowledgeable.” Given Roy’s evident conscientious nature, I think we may conclude such warrants are unnecessary.
Photographs copyright © Jeremy Freedman