Treasure Hunting in Brussels - Jeu de Balle

Sacred Heart of Jesus Statue Close Up
At the end of July we visited Brussels for a few days to see my sister-in-law, who lives a ten minute walk from the famous Jeu de Balle Flea. Jeu de Balle is a daily market established in 1919, in a beautiful old square, with lots of interesting treasures to be found (if you have the time to rummage!), surrounded by cafes, bars and restaurants. It's not massive, which I like as it's not completely overwhelming. You can start at one corner and methodically(ish) weave your way around the organised chaos in under an hour if you don't stop too long at each stall, making it doable with both kids and others in your group that might not have much interest in this kind of thing!
Jue de Balle Flea Market

Jue de Balle Flea Market

Jue de Balle Flea Market
The last time I visited the market was maybe eight years ago, and I said exactly the same thing to my husband again this time - 'One day, we must drive a van over and really do the markets properly'. That's something I'd really love to do one day when Baxter is a little bit older - a family road trip to France and Belguim to do some real treasure hunting. It's frustrating not being able to bring lots of finds back because of the size or weight, so I'd love to have that restriction removed.

I know that my 'treasures' will make a lot of you reel in horror, but we all like different things, right? It's what makes the world go 'round. Luckily for me my husband 'gets' the majority of the things I like. Call it a Madonna hangover, from my rebellious teen years, as I'm not religious, but I've long been a sucker for religious iconography, so when I saw a cluster of about fifteen Sacred Heart of Jesus statues at the market, I was instantly drawn to them. They were a decent size, averaging 40 cms tall (16 inches), and I figured they'd have a hefty price tag on them, even though some were in better condition than others, which is actually part of their charm. They look like they've been around for a long while, but I didn't have the time to ask the dealer anything other than the price as I had the kids with me and they were losing their patience!

I'm no expert, and I have no idea if such statues were/are mass produced, but I suspect so. They're plaster of paris (chalkware for my American readers), so a decent weight, but as they're hand-painted, even if a gazzilion and one were made from the same cast, each one is still unique in my book. They have no markings, and I've not had much luck finding out much about such statues online. But I do know one thing for sure, and that is that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and for some reason I find them totally mesmerising. The colours are fabulous too - the powdery blues and silvers contrasting with the bright coral, deep red and bright greens. Ugh, I die. These are going to look amazing in my new look living room. More on that very soon...

I was so surprised, no, gob-smacked at the price, that I even forgot to haggle. There was just no way of hiding the delight on my face when the dealer offered me one for €20, two for €30, or three for €35! Needless to say, three of them came home with me. The guy at the front, is in the best condition, the other two have both been beheaded (!!) at some point and had their heads glued back on. Regardless, for the price tag I just couldn't help myself.
Sacred Heart of Jesus Statues
My other purchase was this hand-made lucite and brass lamp, which again, I was powerless to resist. I actually bought this from a vintage shop near the market, not the market itself, which was in an old poultry shop - it had the most incredible tiled walls and some of the original shop fittings, and I'm so annoyed with myself for not taking any photos in there. Anyway, the lamp got knocked on the way home, and the fitting has come loose, but it wasn't great anyway and didn't allow for a shade to be added easily, so I'll be replacing both the fitting and the flex, and adding a shade, to transform it into something completely unique and fabulous. I paid €30 for it, which some might say was too much for a piece of turned lucite and a bit of old brass, but I adore it. I'll do a post on it's transformation really soon.
Brass and Lucite Lamp - French For Pineapple

My purchases did make the journey home slightly more interesting than I'd have liked, but as you can probably tell, I'm smitten with them. I love finding treasures when I'm travelling, that add to the story and evolution of our home. I wonder what I'll find in Formentera this year?!

Oh, and by the way, my blog has been nominated in the Amara Interior Blog awards. Yay! If you enjoy reading it, I'd really appreciate your vote. Click right here to do so, it's quick and easy, I promise!

Now excuse me while I go and have a little boogie to Like a Prayer in my living room...