Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Sussex Secrets; Take a Break and Find Gifts with a Difference in Pretty Petworth, Says Katrina Burroughs

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Sussex Secrets; Take a Break and Find Gifts with a Difference in Pretty Petworth, Says Katrina Burroughs

Article excerpt

Byline: KATRINA BURROUGHS

SMART London shoppers can steer well clear of the Oxford Street crowds this year. A mere 50 miles out of town on the A3, among the rolling hills of West Sussex, the market town of Petworth offers the answer to the classic yuletide conundrum of how to buy perfect gifts and preserve your sanity.

Petworth used to have a reputation as the brownest of antiques towns - all Georgian bureaux and longcase clocks at "fine furniture" prices. But in the past year or two, there have been tectonic shifts in the little community.

Now, many of the 37 dealers in residence are cannily offering just what the new generation of stylish homeowners are after: plenty of characterful, decorative, informal and reasonably priced pieces of practical furniture. You can see it all for yourself, at a special antiques event on Friday. Shops will be open until 9pm and customers can enjoy mulled wine and mince pies while listening to carol singers in the square. The event promises to transform the town into this year's most enticing venue for seasonal shopping.

Eclectic and adorable

Lantiques is Andrew Legere's trove of stylish, decorative treasures. It's difficult to describe such eclectic pleasures to the Lantiques virgin, save to say that if this shop were transplanted to London, it would be on the Pimlico Road - and the prices would be unbeatable. Garden antiques are perennial bestsellers. For [pounds sterling]25 you can acquire a 19th century French folding concert chair, its slatted seat painted in gently distressed green or cream.

A small terracotta urn can be had for a similar price, and values rise to about [pounds sterling]350 for a 19th century cast-iron example decorated on either side with lion masks.

Quintessential quilts

Carla St Martin-Walls and her daughter, Samantha Bridges, specialise in beautiful vintage quilts, starting at [pounds sterling]80. Also in stock are piles of pretty cushions ([pounds sterling]55 to [pounds sterling]65) covered in fabrics such as 19th century toile. And don't forget to pick up one of Sam's sought-after angels.

A bargain at [pounds sterling]12, these tinsel-free decorations, made from vintage fabrics, flew off her stall at a recent fair at Chelsea Town Hall. …

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