Homes & Gardens
"If you plan to pound the pavements of Oxford Street, Bond Street or Regent Street in search of special presents, take a detour to Grays Antiques Market, tucked away in a beautiful 19th-century building off South Molton Street. Split into two sections- Grays and the Mews – it is home to over 200 dealers, all experts in their fields, selling an incredible range of antiques, jewellery and collectables from train sets to vintage toys. There is also an on-site engraver, jewellery repairer and a bureau de change and, for a well-earned break, a blissfully peaceful 1950’s themed café. Established by Bennie Gray in 1977, the market is still owned by the Gray family and has recently undergone a 30th-Birthday facelift.
One of the great characters here, Evonne Muszkowska has had her stand, Evonne Antiques, at Grays for 20 years, selling antiques dating from 1880 to 1940, including photograph frames, hip flasks and, when we visited, a glass cocktail set by Hawkes, for £2500. Stand 351-353, 0207 491 0143
Anita Gray is the sister of the market’s founder Bennie Gray and a renowned expert and lecturer on oriental works of art. The Chinese and Japanese ceramics on her stand attract serious collectors and prices start at around £400. Stand 307-309, 020 7408 1638, Chinese-porcelain.com. For more oriental art, visit Bennie Grays’s brother Anthony’s stand, which has more affordable pieces, including snuff bottles dating from about 1720, form around £150. Stand H25-H28, 020 7408 1252. Chinese-porcelain-art.com
In the Mews downstairs, you’ll find Mousa’s empire. He sells Bohemian, French and English glassware dating from the 19th century. Prices range from £40 for a single glass to £25,000 for a huge Bohemian vase. Stands E14-E15, C13-C19, C24-C25, B12-B17, A23-A29, 020 7499 8273
Elliot Lee specialises in tortoiseshell, horn and ivory objects, and has everything from clocks and a cannon-shaped cigar holder to silver-rimmed tankards with elephant-tusk handles. Stand 141-143, 07792 724 091
At their Hallmark stand, Raymond and Ralph sell everything from enamel jewellery boxes to more quirky items, such as a tiny silver model of a bathing hut made in 1898 and priced at £250. They also have beautiful silver tableware from the 1930’s. Stands 319 and 356, 020 7629 8757.
WHILE YOU’RE THERE:
Upstairs in the Mews building, Biblion, 1/7 Davies Mews, W1K 5AB, 020 7629 1374. Biblion.co.uk, is a magnet for bibliophiles. This consortium of dealers sells antique books (how about a first edition by Dr Seuss or Roald Dahl?) and signed, limited edition prints and engravings by artists like David Hockney and Damien Hirst. If you budget won’t stretch that far, there are also lovely and much more affordable botanical prints.
Vintage fashion-seekers should head downstairs in the Mews building to Vintage Modes. 1/7 Davies Mews, W1K 5AB, 020 7409 0400 vintagemodes.co.uk. Like Biblion, this elegant shop is a consortium of dealers and sells clothes, bags, shoes and costume jewellery dating from the Victorian era to the 1990’s – the evening cloaks and gloves particularly caught our eye. Unlike other vintage clothes emporia, this shop smells faintly of lavender rather than moth balls, and the walls are lined with red velvet curtains." Alice Rose, Homes & Gardens, April 09