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English folk art and taxidermy - Stewart Tuckniss
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English folk art and taxidermy - Stewart TucknissWith a shop full of stuffed foxes and model soldiers, Stewart Tuckniss is one of the most intriguing specialist dealers in Portobello.

Stewart Tuckniss has been trading at Portobello Road for the last ten years. He was drawn here because of the atmosphere, the crowds and its unshakeable reputation as the best place to buy and trade antiques.

His shop Colonial Soldier deals in English country pursuits, folk art and, of course, colonial soldiers: "They're great for guarding castles and stately homes with a little quirky touch," he says.

Located under the stairway by the Admiral Vernon arcade, your eye is immediately drawn to the taxidermy pieces that line the wall of the shop. From small mammals to birds they might not be to everyone's taste, but Tuckniss explains that modern artists such as Damien Hirst have done a lot to make the subject more acceptable, adding that "people realise it's from a different period and different time."

Tuckniss has been collecting all his life and began trading from his own personal collection. "It comes from a love of fox hunting, horse riding and English folk arts," he explains. He now spends his life travelling the world and collecting unusual items.

"This is quite an unusual piece," says Stewart, pointing to a taxidermy vixen and her cubs. "It came out of a farmer's kitchen, so obviously these little chaps were chasing his hens 100 years ago and the farmer obviously had a good sense of humour," he explains.

"It's the antiques that make Portobello, Portobello," adds Stewart. "It's the history, the Admiral Vernon, the battle and the fact that people can come here to shop and find little curiosities they won't find on the high street. It's got its own unique personality, charm and atmosphere that is unbeatable."


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