A good place to look for old buttons is the market at Portobello Road in
London. It had rained the morning of the day we went so we were hoping
the crowds would be nonexistent. HA, HA, HA! You were the only one we
didn’t see there!
Portobello is fun for people-watching, of course, and also for the musical
interludes provided by street singers—like The Sugar Sisters above who
were singing “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree (with anyone else but me)”
a good old WWII song. Also in the street farther on was–to my granddaughters’
eyes– a handsome, or “fit” young man playing the saxophone. (Looks like his
girlfriend is with him.)
We walked up and down all the side streets—Alice’s a favorite . . .
and in and out of a million “galleries”–long narrow hallways into the buildings,
with small 6 x 8 booths of vendors selling wares. No piece of sidewalk real estate
was overlooked for making a sale. Lots of jewelry, trinkets, books to tempt one.
At the sign of the teapot:
I went in and found a dealer selling sewing supplies and buttons. Here is the
nice array of early sewing things she had: (click to enlarge)
and I bought a small selection of buttons from her:
The large silver Art Nouveau button at top of photo (click to enlarge) is
1 and 3/4 inches in d. and the little horn dogs are 7/16 inch. The antique
brass Art Deco button with turquoise stones (many missing!) is backmarked
“E.M. PARIS” which might stand for E. Maurice.”
The nice old painted porcelain buttons have unglazed backs . . . and the
red heart is an inexpensive cutie—hearts and roses design.
Another time, if there’s time, I’ll investigate Admiral Vernon alley for more
textiles and sewing things and buttons. We had a little lunch at a “beer
garden” and moseyed back along the streets towards the tube and home.
Along the way was this beauty of a house—people really live in Portobello