From the Editor
One of the nicest things about producing this magazine is that every time we put an issue to bed, I think it's better than the last one. So it follows that this bumper 100-page Summer 2015 magazine is possibly one of the best we've ever done! It definitely has some of the most stunning antiques ever to be seen in Australia, starting with the vanity cases in our cover feature. UK dealer Richard Gardner, who owns all of the amazing cases on display (just the ones we feature are valued at more than $620,000) advertises that he has one of the world's best antique showrooms and I have no doubt that this is true. We'll be feasting our eyes on his West Sussex shop the next time we're in the UK.
Actually I was in London for a flying visit (five days!) in September, and I did manage to get to a couple of antique markets as well as take a tour of the remarkable Sir John Soane Museum. The museum is near the historic Spitalfields, which has a weekly antiques market although the area is better known now for its fashion and homewares. The market should be more accurately termed a collectables market, as there really weren't many antiques in evidence - but a short walk around the corner to Sir John's place and you could go as far back in time as the Egyptian pharaohs and pretty much everything in between. Sir John was nothing if not eclectic and this museum is one of a kind and well worth the trip (you can read more about it in this issue).
While we were in the East End we dropped in to Alfie's Antique Market, which is London's largest indoor market - four floors stuffed with antiques, vintage fashion and 20th century design on Church Street in the suburb of Marylebone. Church Street boasts a few unique antique shops as well as Alfie's, and is a good destination if you're looking for something a bit quirky, bohemian or retro.
The other market we visited was Portobello Road on a Saturday. Some of the Carter family still live and trade on Portobello Road so we visit there every time we return to the UK, and this time we noticed a difference in the Saturday antiques market. The long arm of development has squeezed out many of the long-standing antique centres and arcades and several chainstore boutiques and a bunch of upmarket cafes have moved in. There are still antiques to be found, but you'll need to roam the rabbit warren of arcades at the top end of the road to find them. There's plenty of tourist stuff on offer and the fruit and veg section of the market is spectacular, as is the 'trash and treasure' section that stretches for about half a mile up the other side like an enormous car boot sale. It was a rainy day in September when we were there and work on the nearly tube line made getting to the market more difficult than usual, but even so the road was packed with people by late morning. Portobello Road might be slowly changing but it will always be an iconic place to visit.
And speaking of icons, we'd like to introduce you to Krampus, the Christmas devil. He's not an icon but he probably should be, just because he presents such a different side to the Christmas tradition. None of that jolly red-suited Santa stuff happens when Krampus comes calling... You'll find him on page 66 as part of what we hope you'll agree is some great summer reading.