It’s only a few steps from Chiswick High Road, but David Edmonds’ collection at The Old Cinema is like entering an ante-room in a slightly eccentric Maharajah’s palace.  Jewel-coloured  woven throws are piled onto velvet ottomans, brass and pewter lamps twinkle on marble-topped tables and a display cabinet is filled with treasures, including decorative bowls hewn out of rock crystal, glass earrings in fruit-sweet colours, silver rope necklaces and wooden opium bowls.  This Aladdin’s cave is a far cry from Dave’s early years, when he left his native New Zealand aged 23 and, after a trip through India, hit the UK music scene, eventually working as a roadie for the likes of The Pretenders, The Clash and the Rolling Stones.

In his mid 30's, burnt out by the music business, Dave wanted a change.  Drawn by the colour and light of India, he went back there, and identified a business opportunity in the brightly coloured textiles, exotic furnishings and artworks he saw there.  He started in Camden Market and Portobello Road, mainly selling  Indian clothes and costumes and a few small pieces of artwork.  "Clothes have always been important to me" he explained. "I got it from my Dad, he was always very well-turned out. He taught us to always buy the best you can afford."  Quality and craftsmanship is still what most impresses Dave:  "Someone may not even be able to read, but they have this amazing talent to create something beautiful" he says.  

Business flourished and as the demand for antiques grew, Dave acquired a warehouse and travelled frequently to India, bringing back furniture, artwork and architectural salvage items. He unearthed ornamental pillars, architraves, wooden doors, bronze panels and antique ironwork and often used these to build something new - yet unique.   A pair of carved door panels from a palace in Rajasthan would be incorporated into a wardrobe  whilst a 19th Century house bracket from Jodphur, becomes an unusual piece of sculpture in its own right.

He’s uncovered some particularly interesting finds,  including several tribal masks and some rare Indian board-games, which were purchased by the British Museum.  Now, however, Dave’s interest is in re-cycling,  using reclaimed materials.   Recent additions  to his collection include an upcycled glass-fronted sideboard, hand-painted in bright colours and a hexagonal coffee table, made out of reclaimed teak. 

He now lives in a village near Dorking, near his favourite real ale pub,  and, more importantly,  has a garage for his motorcycles; a passion he’s retained from his early days  in New Zealand working in a motorcycle shop . For someone with a lot of living  left to do,  it sounds like he’s packed quite a lot in so far? A wicked grin breaks out:  “Oh yes. I have.  If I go tomorrow I’ll go knowing I’ve had a great time!”


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