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James Brown at Gardners Market Sundriesmen

February 9, 2012
by the gentle author

This is illustrator & printmaker, James Brown, presenting Paul Gardner, the fourth generation paper bag seller, with a copy of the beautiful print he has created to celebrate this beloved and historic Spitalfields institution, Gardners Market Sundriesmen. When a one hundred and forty year old business advertises for the first time, something special is required and – working in collaboration with Paul – James has contrived a paper bag printed in gold and emblazoned with symbols of all the different items to be purchased at Gardners.

“Knowing about Paul and his story through Spitalfields Life, I thought it would be great to produce a design that he could use as a promotional flyer and that I could also make into a nice limited edition print too,” explained James shyly, standing in front of Paul and aware of the huge departure this first piece of advertising represents for Gardners.

Through supplying the bags, in this area traditionally occupied with small shops and markets, Gardners is naturally the epicentre. Yet with new people coming to set up stalls and open shops all the time, James’ beautiful postcards of his print constitute an ideal introduction to this uniquely appealing shop that will sell you as few bags as you need. In coming days, James & I will be distributing the cards in shops and markets on Paul’s behalf, but you can pick up some yourself direct from Gardners Market Sundriesmen and take the opportunity to admire the limited edition print, if you happen to be passing through Commercial St.

“Paul has so many stories to tell, my visits to Gardners were always lengthy and lively.” confided James, savouring the year it has take to develop his design. “It’s been great to get to know Paul and I really hope the flyer works for him, he is a lovely guy and offers a level of service that cannot be surpassed by any of the online bag and sundries suppliers.”

When I first met James Brown a couple of  years ago, he had just quit a ten year career as a textile designer and struck out anew as an illustrator and printmaker, sharing a studio with his brother in Hackney Wick. Since then, I have been delighted to see his bravura designs turning up all over the place. “It’s snowballed really,” he admitted with a private smile of satisfaction, “And now I am making a living at it – exactly what I wanted to do and it’s brilliant!”

James’ screenprint celebrating Gardners Market Sundriesmen, Spitalfields’ oldest family business.

James Brown’s Gardners Market Sundriesmen print is available from Paul Gardner at 149 Commercial St, online from and from Elphick’s Shop on Columbia Rd.

You may also like to read about

At Gardner Market Sundriesmen

Paul Gardner, Paper Bag Seller

Paul Gardner’s Collection

Joan Rose at Gardners’ Market Sundriesmen

7 Responses leave one →
  1. February 9, 2012

    Brilliant! It’s great to know that locally based businesses such as this still exist. And so stylish too.

  2. February 9, 2012

    What a lovely idea, absolutely beautifully carried out by James. It’s great to see that sort of work.

  3. TokyoDon permalink
    February 10, 2012

    Top banana!

  4. February 11, 2012

    We NEED ONE! Well done James – you never cease to amaze me with your creative abilities. Can we buy them from Paul direct?

  5. February 20, 2012

    Hi Helen &Matt
    Paul phoned and told me you bought one from him.
    Great, I hope you enjoy it.
    Hope all is going well and see you soon x

  6. tony hawkins permalink
    October 10, 2012

    well done the paper bag shop always kept me going
    with all my need’s all the best from the peanut
    man from manchester hope you keep going for many year’s to come

  7. Jill permalink
    October 29, 2016

    Start with simplicity at the root and you can’t go wrong – paper bags!

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