Le Chic En Rose

Diaries of an independent traveller

A little vignette to accompany my Portobello Road article, On The Trail Of Notting Hill: Portobello Road Markets.

One of the antique sellers’ stalls I visited with my daughter, Mlle, was Portobello Road Cigarette Cards, where we had an interesting chat with the stall owner, David Banks, about the history of cigarette card collecting. The cards were placed, one card only, inside packets of cigarettes and were popular in Great Britain and other countries from about 1900 to 1940. According to David, “Competition between tobacco companies for brand loyalty forced the quality of the cards ever higher… many of the original cards have become extremely scarce and now attract high prices in the collectors market.”

 

Portobello Road Cigarette Cards, Portobello Road Markets

Portobello Road Cigarette Cards Portobello Road Markets

All of the original cards have the date of issue written on the back. Reprints, which have become popular over the past 20 years or so, don’t have a year of issue written on them – only a price. This distinguishing feature is very important if anyone ever tries to sell you an original set of cigarette cards without a date written on them! Mlle had been eyeing off a print of Alice in Wonderland cigarette cards for a few weeks but fortuitously with the arrival of Maman Le Chic En Rose and her credit card, she was able to purchase it!

 

 

Alice In Wonderland print of original cigarette cards from Portobello Road cigarettes, Portobello Road Markets London

Alice In Wonderland print of original cigarette cards from Portobello Road cigarettes, Portobello Road Markets London

 

The cards are reprints of the original illustrations in the first edition of Alice In Wonderland by Sir John Tenniel and the back of the print states that the cards came from 1930.

 

Back of the Alice In Wonderland print with the date 1930 written on it from Portobello Road Cigarette Cards

Back of the Alice In Wonderland print with the date 1930 written on it from Portobello Road Cigarette Cards

 

Visiting the Portobello Road Markets was one of the highlights of my trip to London in April. They are well worth checking out – if you’re down that way you might source yourself a bargain or discover some hidden treasures! Back “Down Under” more stories from my travels in Western Australia’s south west coming up on the blog soon! In the meantime wishing everyone a lovely weekend!

 

Copyright Β© 2015 Rosemary Thomas Le Chic En Rose. All rights reserved

17 thoughts on “Alice In Wonderland At Portobello Road

  1. Lemonpath says:

    Portobello Rd was one of my haunts when I lived in London, I also liked Camden Town. Interesting post on Cigarette Cards I have never heard of them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We used to live near Camden Town when we lived in London but I’d never been to the Notting Hill area before. They both have good markets, shops and pubs and cafes! I’d never heard of cigarette cards before either – my daughter, who’s now living in London, came across this stall and so took me there. Loved the Portobello Road markets – I could hang out there for hours!

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  2. KerryCan says:

    That artwork is so wonderful!! Didn’t the cigarette companies also include “flannels” in the packages, too?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s lovely artwork isn’t it Kerry? I hadn’t heard of “flannels” in the cigarette packages before so I looked it up and yes you are quite right – having small textiles or flannels advertising cigarette products was popular especially in the early 20th century. The theory was that it encouraged women to buy the cigarettes or get their spouses to do so and they would then often incorporate the textiles into sewing projects such as quilts. Right up your street! Apparently the flannels are sought after collectors’ items too!

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  3. What a gorgeous purchase Rosemary for your daughter – not surprised she’d been eyeing this up, I love it!! Definitely have to get to this area when next we’re in London.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes she was very happy Joy! She’s just moved into a new flat in the west London area – a bit nearer in to the city than her previous one so she’ll be able to decorate her room with it. I need to organise with her to get the print framed! I’ll be visiting the Portobello Road area again when we’re next there (hopefully next UK spring) and also hope to explore some of the east London area markets, shops and cafes. That part of London wasn’t trendy when we were living in London but it’s totally different now from what I can gather! Hope you’ve had a good week and have an enjoyable weekend πŸ™‚

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      1. It sounds right up my street Rosemary, I love those kind of quirky and unusual little places. I love shopping generally but the gents in the family are not so keen, however somewhere like this would be a different story!! Enjoy your weekend too.

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        1. Yes I can relate to that Joy! I have either to drag Monsieur LC along or go off without him – shopping is not his idea of fun but I think he’d enjoy browsing round the updated east end of London. Hope to do some exploring round there next time we’re over πŸ™‚

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  4. Beautiful cards! πŸ™‚ Such an off the beaten path, which I love to visit and experience…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Hanne yes I love interesting and quirky places – they have such character and I could browse there for hours! πŸ™‚

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  5. colibrist says:

    Beautiful cards! So interesting to know that the originals have a printed date but not the reprints… The Portobello road markets are a hidden gem! Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

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    1. Thanks Laia – I was really interested in this stall and the owner was very pleased to tell us the story behind the cards. It’s useful to know about the originals and the date on the back – I wouldn’t have realised that before. I loved the print that Mlle chose – it looks very elegant in her room in her London apartment! I was very happy to go to the markets too – had heard about them but never been there before and I’d definitely hope to go there again! Hopefully you can go there one day too – happy travels πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve never heard of the Portobello Road Markets, I’m glad you shared this with us ! It seems like the perfect location to spot hidden treasures indeed !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If you go down to London Gin try and get out there (it’s near Notting Hill gate and Ladbroke Grove). It’s a fascinating place to wander around – so many interesting trinkets, food stalls, antiques it has so much to offer! Am hoping to go again next time we’re over or else to one of the many other London markets – Mlle our daughter is loving them! πŸ™‚

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      1. I don’t think I’ll make it to London this year. We will try to go to Devon or Cornwall instead πŸ™‚

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        1. They are both lovely Gin – gorgeous scenery and charming villages!

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