Thank you Biddy for the title of this post.
It seems to sum up our shop really well.
We are always short of space. I always have too many books to fit on the shelves. I am always short of local-interest books. I am always ‘just about’ to have a big clear-up. I am always short of interesting railwayana. Customers always comment on the large amount of railwayana. I always struggle to keep the art gallery from becoming just like the rest of the shop. Graham always lacks space for his restoration jobs…….and so on…..always the same.
On the other hand; the shop is always different.
Looking at old photos of our interior reminds me of all the varied objects that have been here and gone on to new owners and how things have changed over the 20 years I have had an antiques shop.
Take chairs – one of my favourite items. At one Newark Antiques Fair, I had a row of unusual Windsor chairs of different varieties. I bought and sold a number during the fair itself. Where are they now, I wonder? Thinking of chairs, what has happened to all the sets of solid Victorian kitchen chairs? They combined sturdiness and restorability with a certain style and variety, sometimes with the bonus of great patina and silkily worn surfaces.
Dairy and farming items seem to have largely vanished too – we have had all sorts of butter churns for instance.The older oak barrel-with-dasher types with their up-and-down churning technique are particularly pleasing. We do have an Irish example at the moment, the only one I have seen for a while. Then there are many sizes of tumble churn, from the small, sideways-barrel tabletop models, designed for the family with one or two cows to enormous two-operator churns on heavy floor stands with large handle on either side. Related items such as scotch hands, decorative butter stamps, skimmers and so on used to be in antique shops and stalls everywhere. Now they are occasional finds.
I could carry on in this vein but it is beginning to be a bit ‘those were the days’-ish.
After all, there is still too much stuff for the space.
I am delighted by the recent revival of interest in enamel advertising signs. It can make some rather pricey but we do our best to source reasonable examples. Along with that go other vintage advertising materials including tinplate, card, paper and packaging. We are lucky enough to have a small display of 20th Century packaging at the moment, along with vintage recipe books and related items, all nostalgically fascinating.
Old oil lamps are ever popular, though there are fewer places to buy them nowadays. Prices for decorative Victorian examples are lower they were (say) 10 years ago, which is great for people looking for pretty, brass or glass and cast-iron table lamps. Replacement chimneys and shades are becoming harder to source but so far I am finding plenty.
Again, I could carry on but will finish by mentioning how we have increased the selection of greetings cards in the art gallery in recent years. Hand-made cards by local artists are increasingly popular. They combine being attractive and local with being made in small numbers. Some are unique, such as Biddy Wells’ ‘little originals’ – either original paintings or (my favourites) using vintage paper drinks labels.
Come and look at them soon though – her collection of labels is running low.
Oh well, Iexpect when they are gone there will always be something different.