The Edinburgh auction house is launching its latest operation ‘down south’ with an art show dubbed Colourists at Connaught.
This loan exhibition from September 4-15 of more than 20 works is a “wonderful opportunity for guests to view museum-quality, yet rarely exhibited paintings by the four Scottish Colourists”. It includes works rarely seen, loaned by L&T private clients, and a few highlights from upcoming Scottish art sales.
L&T managing director Gavin Strang says the firm is establishing a team of specialists and business developers in Connaught Street. It includes a new arrival: Kate Flitcroft, a former 10-year veteran auctioneer and specialist with Christie’s, latterly in the silver department in King Street, now L&T head of jewellery and silver sales, London.
“We have got the core of our London team, with the business development side of that led very much by our director Lee Young,” adds Strang, who also says the auction house hopes to expand further in the city, “not least in light of developments with Christie’s South Kensington’s closure”.
L&T used to have a London office on Pall Mall but Strang believes this new location gives a greater scope to expand its activities in the capital.
“We did have the Pall Mall office but haven’t really had the opportunity to show things off,” he says. “We haven’t had a gallery space, and felt as we’ve grown over the last few years that is something we very much wanted to do.
"L&T has quite a significant client base in the south-east, a lot of buyers and sellers, and we felt the next logical step was to be doing more in London. So when the opportunity came up for this gallery space in Connaught Street, a lovely street in itself, we took it.”
Although the W2 postcode location is not in the more traditional London art and antiques hubs such as St James’s and Bond Street, it is only 15 minutes’ walk away and has parking outside.
It is not suitable for holding auctions, but L&T has already established a foothold for that. The Asian and jewellery markets are a major part of its London strategy.
“We’ve already started sales in London and will continue to hold them,” says Strang. “Two Asian sales have taken place in London now, in Asian Art Week and the second Asian week in May, and that will carry on.
“The gallery space itself is not big enough to hold auctions but we have used nearby spaces that lend themselves to auctioneering. Our first jewellery sale in London took place in May this year – a relatively small one, but the lots there did very well. We hope Kate is going to build on the success of that and have similar sales.”
The architecture of 22 Connaught Street chimes with L&T’s current Scottish operations. “It harmonises with our Georgian premises here in Edinburgh and office space in Glasgow – all a similar vintage,” adds Strang.
“Auctions aside, we have an opportunity to do a mixture of things in this space. We are looking to have regular exhibitions, both of upcoming sale highlights but also shows such as this Colourists display – a very busy schedule of events. As it is a shopfront premises, we can have things in the window, on the street in a very nice area. It means we will be doing things in a different way.”