Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

1 How did you get your start?

My first job straight after university, in about 1984, was with the print dealer William Weston, followed by four years with Austin/Desmond before setting up the Coram Gallery in Bloomsbury in 1993.

After I went solo again, I was inspired by Austin/Desmond, which actually started in a shed – it doesn’t matter where you are. If you show good art people will come.

For a while I rented out spaces out and put on shows at Clink Wharf in London before Tate Modern opened and did various other things before opening my current permanent space in Dorset.

2 How would you describe your business now?

I have two gallery spaces on an organic farm. In one we run a programme of solo shows, and in the other a selection of other gallery and Modern British artists. Being out of London means not having to be so focused. There aren’t many galleries around here so you have to be more things to more people – that suits me because my tastes are eclectic. Also, if people are coming a long way, they have more to see.

My landlords, who run the farm, grow fantastic organic veg, and there is also a café, glassblower, cheesemaker and Pilates instructor on site, across from the prehistoric site of Hambledon Hill. It makes it a destination. People come and will hang around all day, which means that the gallery is always busy.

3 What is one highlight item of stock right now?

As we’re deep into winter, and I’ve just put it on our Christmas card, this scene by David Gommon (1913-87) from 1985. His works range from £900-5000.


A work by David Gommon from 1985, offered by The Art Stable.

4 What is one exhibition you’ve really enjoyed this year?

The exhibition I most enjoyed this year was Ivon Hitchens at Chichester’s Pallant House, a gallery I’m fond of. I was particularly drawn to some of his early, slightly more figurative works from the 1940s.

5 Real ale or espresso martini?

Real ale.


If you would like to be featured in 5 Questions, please contact francesallitt@antiquestradegazette.com