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Spitalfields Antiques Market 13

July 1, 2010
by the gentle author

Although Nana Jan (pictured here with her loyal assistant Daniel Almeida) is selling everything because she has cancer and wants to divest herself of possessions before she dies, she continues to live a life that is as far beyond self-pity as you could imagine. “I never expected to see my grandchildren and now I have great-grandchildren!” she whispered excitedly, before proudly revealing the huge tattoo of an angel filling her chest – that she had done when a double mastectomy left her unable to look at her body. Sometimes adversity can bring out extraordinary qualities in people and the joyous Nana Jan possesses an inspirational strength of character that is a bold example to us all.

This is the supremely graceful Adrienne Harris, holding this exquisite tile for an Italian woman who asked to buy the entire set of forty and then mysteriously disappeared. I was deeply impressed when another customer asked Adrienne how to discern real tortoiseshell from reproduction, and with consummate professionalism, Adrienne simply held contrasting examples up to the light and distinguished the authentic from the fake in a moment, demonstrating the knowledge that comes with experience. If you are the woman who wants the tiles please get in touch, because you obviously have great taste and you would not want to disappoint the lovely Adrienne would you?

This is Lottie Muir & Amanda Bluglass who met on Guardian Soulmates seeking romance and discovered instead a shared passion for “Thames treasures and coastal coterie”. ” I am a mudlarker and a letterpress fanatic,” explained Lottie, “so I collect Roman glass and Medieval pottery from the Thames, which washes up against my flat in Rotherhithe, and arrange my discoveries in type cases.” Lottie’s finds are complimented by things selected by Amanda who is a sculptor from Buckfastleigh, “All are chosen for shape or some kind of sculptural beauty,” she added with calm authority, in contrast to Lottie’s giddy excitement on this first day of their new venture.

This is Jessica Hazel & Markus Maverick, who have been dealing in vintage clothes and fabric each Sunday for over a year but have chosen to branch out into antiques and bric-a-brac now. “I’m not interested in modern things,” announced Jessica, London correspondent for, who developed her passion for dressing up in old clothes as a child in her grandmother’s attic. With their playful outfits, Jessica & Markus are superlative ambassadors for their business – and Markus, famous for rocking his swanky Victorian dandy look with exuberant theatricality, admitted that he recently got talent-spotted in Brick Lane to play Jack the Ripper on the History Channel.

Photographs copyright © Jeremy Freedman

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  1. Greg Gordon of Garden Suburb permalink
    July 2, 2010

    This blog is incredible, one of the finest collections of stories I have ever come across online. I think Nana Jan is amazing and will be sure to look out for her when I next visit the market – I now have my heart set on her red glass dish, I hope it hasn’t been snatched up already.

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