But Stylechapel products aside, I enjoy finding unique, one-offs. Whether they come from rummaging at car boot sales, visiting Brighton’s flea markets or scouring antique fairs, I love discovering off-beat pieces that other people no longer want. And it’s always interesting to imagine what life they had before coming into my possession.
So I’ll be sharing some of these treasures with you in a regular series of blog posts. Here’s the first. I hope it will inspire you to get rummaging yourself.
Bathing beauty takes a dive
What I love about wandering around flea markets and car boot sales is when something jumps out from the piles of flotsam and jetsam, and stops you in your tracks. I fell for this bathing beauty the minute I set eyes on her. She has such a great expression and is clearly pleased with herself for pulling off a dive, the likes of which would make Tom Daley proud.
I bought her from a very sweet couple on a bitterly cold Sunday morning in Brighton. They wanted £3. I haggled them down a quid. I take no prisoners when it comes to car booting.
Laughing Cavalier survives the chop
I actually bought this with the idea of using the frame and chucking the picture. But thankfully he survived being cast out. I usually prop up my flea market finds for a few days so I can look at them and think where they will fit best around my home. The more I studied this chap, the more I liked him.
It’s clearly a (not very good) knock-off of the famous Frans Hals Laughing Cavalier although he appears to be less laughing and more slightly startled by something that’s happening behind the painter. Either that or he’s troubled by the fact that his moustache appears to be joining up with his eyebrow.
He now has a permanent place in the lounge between a collection of Rupert books and The Observer’s Book of Aircraft (definitely not mine!). I picked him up for the bargain price of £10. But I’m hoping that, when Fiona Bruce comes round with the Antiques Roadshow crew, she’ll tell me he’s the original. Doubtful, but you never know. Actually, on this occasion, I think we probably do.
Coco seems less sure of the new addition…