Alexandra Alfandary Antiques

Alexandra Alfandary Antiques are an Antique Dealer with over 40 years experience specialising in Meissen and other Fine European Porcelain.

Today I was lucky enough to have an in-depth conversation with Alexandra at Gallery 85



Q. Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your area of expertise?

Alexandra: I have been an antique dealer for over 40 years, specialising in 19th century Meissen porcelain and other fine European manufactures. I sell from a proper shop, Gallery 85, and I have a large stock of Meissen, KPM Berlin, Vienna, Sevres, Bohemian glass, clocks and decorative pieces, photo frames from the Belle Epoque, scent bottles etc


Q. What items could visitors expect to find from you?

Alexandra: My speciality is 19th century Meissen and other Fine European porcelain. I carry a large stock of highly decorative pieces, Meissen, Sevres, Vienna, Glass, KPM Berlin plaques,  Objets d’Art, enamelled opera glasses, photo frames etc.

I look out for quality and rarity and hope to  inspire the new collector to appreciate the workmanship and beauty, and to start collecting the best.


Q. Can you remember a specific piece that initially sparked you interest with Meissen porcelain?

Alexandra: When my husband was based in Kensington Church Street in the 1970ies, Kensington, I helped to look after the shop. I sold a Meissen group of a dancing dance master  with gallants and companions. I thought the group was wonderful, you felt like taking the hand of the dance master and dancers and joining in. I remember the price then, it was £32. That group today sells for between £3000-£3500.

My first choice would always be Meissen porcelain because Meissen porcelain has, in my opinion, no equal when it comes to the detailed and fine modelling, especially faces and the movement of frocks and dresses of figurines and also the subtle decoration to these pieces.

The more you handle Meissen porcelain the more you recognise the exquisite workmanship, whether it is a single figurine , a group, or a lovely scene painted with such detail that you might think it was a photograph. Meissen is also famous for its decoration of applied flowers, fruit and leaves on cups and saucers, dishes, centrepieces, cabaret sets and vases. They are exquisite, playful and highly decorative.

Many other manufactures have tried to imitate and copy Meissen but there is none who have been able to achieve the artistry of Meissen porcelain. Although I have been an antique dealer for over 40 years, I still come across pieces that I have not seen before and I have never ceased to be delighted by Meissen – it is a pleasure to be surrounded by such beautiful porcelain.



Q. What attracted you to bring your business to the area?

Alexandra: I was drawn to Portobello Road in the 1970ies because there were so many other Antique Dealers with wonderful goods, from porcelain, to silver, to clocks and watches, pictures, glass, furniture, tin toys – there was something for everyone. Portobello Road was packed with visitors and there was a buzz and excitement, of buying and selling and making new clients and friends. There was serious antiques dealing going on in the road and the excitement of what one would find or sell.

Today things have changed, there is more bric-a-brac and even souvenirs and reproductions, but there are still many well established antique dealers with fabulous pieces who have been part of Portobello Market for many many years who make the hunt for That particular piece worth while. It is still a road where dealers, collectors and visitors come and explore – and they will not be disappointed, because there is still quality to be found, there are still many stalls and shops with genuine exquisite antiques where you can by with confidence.

For those who enjoy the atmosphere and want to take a little “Find” back home, well, there is something for those visitors too. But don’t expect a genuine and important antique to cost as little as a trinket – be realistic what a genuine and beautiful antique item costs.



Q. Where can visitors find you?

Alexandra: You will find Gallery 85 with its red signage on Portobello Road nearer to Chepstow Villas end. The Gallery also has two more dealers with the finest bronzes, glass and porcelain. Feast your eyes on such fine antique pieces and come and see us at Gallery 85 – but be warned – you might become addicted to looking at the best!



Q. Any advice for first time Portobello Market visitors?

Alexandra: Depends what your interests are. If you are interested in Antiques, then weaving in and out of the galleries with their many  antique dealers stands will be a feast for your eyes. If you plan to make any purchases it is a good idea to buy in confidence from dealers who belong to an Antique Dealers Trade Association.

Those who enjoy the atmosphere, people and bric a brac stands will enjoy  touching and trying on items or vintage clothes or bringing home a small present.

You don’t go hungry in Portobello Road, there are Cafes in some of the Arcades or food stalls selling street food further down along Portobello Road where the fresh fruit and vegetable market starts.