Friday, 9 July 2010

Stationery Store Series: The Print Gallery

Aladdin's Cave is not a tidy place. It is cavernous (like a cave), it is cluttered with treasures, it is dimly illuminated by oil lamps or by a ray of sunshine that barely manages to reach its mysterious depths. It is neither tidy nor brightly lit and there is no muzak. From the outside it is perhaps obscured by some bush or tree or a carefully placed rock makes it blend in with the landscape. One chances upon Aladdin's Cave and upon entering marvels at its treasures. And thus, I chanced upon The Print Gallery.

Cheap prints and offers and sunglasses for the desperate tourist on the outside but look inside and a whole new world is revealed. Artists' materials ~ Stationery - the magic words and thus sesame opens. It is sunny outside but inside the neon lights are on and the heaps of art supplies, pens, pencils, pads and stationery take the breath away. "I want to live here", I tell the polite manager who forces a smile upon his face thinking me deranged.

There is a vast collection of drawing and calligraphy inks, heaps of canvases, acrylic colours from all the major brands like Daler-Rowney, Caran d' Ache, Winsor and Newton; tins and tins of pencils for sketching and drawing and I found (lo!) my favourite Conté Pastel Pencils which even the big London Graphic Arts shop in Covent Garden did not stock.

Here also are the Staedtler Mars Dynagraph which were so wonderfully reviewed by Pencil Talk; Berol Turquoise Filmograph pencils, inscribed with capital letters "The Professional Line for Draughting Film"; Automatic Pens (reviewed by Leigh Reyes); Faber, Caran d' Ach, Derwent; Lamy fountain pens; mechanical pencils, Sharpies, sharpeners, erasers and many drawing and sketching pads and notebooks, including Sennelier.

What is the attraction of such a stationery store? It is the potential, the promise of endless possibilities of marks, signs, inscriptions;  the hope of discovery; the marvel of instruments and implements whose properties and uses are equally mysterious to an alchemist's ingredients. Entering the stationery store's  almost cavernous interior cluttered with heaps of pens, pencils, tubes, paper and canvases calls for some ritual of initiation. It is an almost sacred place.

The Print Gallery is at 22 Pembridge Road, Notting Hill, London W11. They also trade online on

Purchases: The pencils:
Bruynzeel design PENCIL 8615 Holland;
JOVI Trigraph HB
Conté Pastel 1355 No 21 France
Conté Pastel 1355 No 40 France
Dr. Pen HB


  1. Oh love it, I want to live there too and I'm bringing my family, they won't be left behind!

  2. Just unbelievable! These old stores are fascinating and have a strong attraction for me as well. – I doubt that I had left a single Dynagraph behind ... ;-)

  3. I detect a pilgramage coming. Love your blog, Lito. A lot of your feelings about stationery match my own. My thoughts on the subject are here:
    (hope you don't think I'm spamming ya, but it's good to find a blog that matches my own inner workings, and I wanted to share!)

  4. Thanks, Rob. And thanks for sharing your blog! It's great when people's thoughts meet...