1 How did you get your start?
Initially I worked for a gallery, but then I was offered a part-share in a rented space with some other dealers. From that point I knew I wanted to run my own gallery and finally moved into something very small in a side street in Cambridge. Very small, bijou even, but just me.
2 What is the first sale you remember making?
I knew a dealer who was handling a studio dispersal of paintings by Alfred John Billinghurst. I bought a very small bundle and I sold several quite quickly. They were charming, loose watercolours with views of Italy, the boating lake in Richmond Park and the Thames.
3 How has the trade changed since you’ve been dealing?
One change is the diminution of available stock. Back in the day there seemed to be an almost endless supply, through auction as well as artists’ families with studios to clear. Another is the chase to have the fashionable name in stock – one year it is John Piper, the next everyone has to have Mary Fedden or Alan Reynolds. We should be happy to explore and to champion the unknown as much as the celebrated.
4 What has been driving the trade in your field over the past year?
In difficult economic times the art market will support ‘blue chip’ or young and decorative artists more easily than anything else, so there is currently a strong polarisation effect.
This leads to art galleries and fairs trying to be either very smart, serious and promoting art as investment, or defiantly young and entry level. What gets lost is the middle market.
5 What are you doing to rectify this?
I am involved with a dedicated bunch of dealers in launching Connect – The Independent Art Fair at the Mall Galleries, London, in January 2019. We all feel that we need to pull together and work co-operatively to maintain our presence as approachable galleries and dealers who really are there for the love of it.
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