Old Tat Magazine

Where fashion and art come together to celebrate a love for old tat.

Book Review: The Magpie and the Wardrobe

The Magpie and the Wardrobe; A Curiosity of Folklore, Magic and Spells

by Sam McKechnie and Alexandrine Portelli

Pavilion Books




Have you ever seen something so wonderful? We at Old Tat have been blessed with a hard copy of this enchanting publication. It is so much more than your average book! Is it a spell book? One cannot be sure.

As I open the book I am greeted with a beautiful gift – a silver cloverleaf charm necklace to wear, embedded within the inside cover. How delightful to give each reader a special keepsake. To put it frankly, this is utterly lovely and I am falling for this book already. The second thing I notice about this bewitching book is how amazingly interactive it is. I am looking inside strangers’ drawers and cupboards, scanning family recipes, gazing into someone’s diary. I am reciting poetry and examining crumpled old pages from other books, meeting delightful little ornaments and strange, charismatic characters which lay upon each page, greeting me and enticing me to read on. There is just so much for my eyes to deconstruct at every flick. Every pageful is a rife with wonder. As I read, I am a magpie, collecting each item as I go. This is my ideal book to get lost in, allowing me to make friends with unknown creatures and curiosities alike.


Secrets and enchantments practically pop out of the page with beautiful photography and intricately detailed pages, sucking me into the folklore. This publication is simply stuffed to the brim, filled with glorious old tat, beauteous colour control and blooming floral content. As I turn another page, hypnotised, I meet taxidermy birds, old fashioned paintings, quaint little dolls, sparkling crystals and chintz patterns galore. The vintage aesthetic captivates me throughout – there is a clear style here and I am completely absorbed within it.

As I am nearly half way though, I meet another interactive element – a removable floral postcard which I can send off to a loved one. One thing is clear to me; this collection of phenomenal objects has been put together with real talent, passion and love. It is so much more than just hocus-pocus. And in the centre of the book, two pages unfold, inviting me into another world where another secret is discovered. To add to the alluring aesthetic, the occasional page is made from surprising materials such as tracing paper, creating a 3D effect on certain pages and enhancing the content even further – how spellbinding!

Whether you believe in magic or not, you cannot escape being drawn into the charming world of The Magpie and the Wardrobe. This more-than-a-book is a real treasure and just our cup of tea! I highly recommend this book as a keepsake within itself, for anyone who loves little trinkets, objects and ornaments and generally likes looking at pretty things. I myself will be treasuring this publication and seeking it out every time I need fresh inspiration.


Words by Loo Loo Rose



Author: oldtatmag

Old Tat magazine is a British niche bi-annual print publication featuring fashion, art and the miscellaneous celebrating all things tatty with a love for clutter. Print magazine available in stores now! Editor: Loo Loo Rose We accept submissions and welcome contributors. Email: oldtatmagazine@gmail.com Follow us on Twitter: @OldTatMag

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