1 How did you get your start as a dealer?
As a Londoner I had spent a lot of time in galleries and churches looking at paintings, first with my parents, then when I travelled independently.
The National Gallery and Tate collections were central to my developing interest but a university course on French painting after the Revolution really stirred my interest in the period.
After graduating I joined Appleby Brothers in St James’s for two years then went on my own as a private dealer.
2 What is your area of focus?
Our focus is on the period 1780-1850, paintings, drawings and watercolours of the British and European schools, particularly French.
The period almost matches Turner’s lifetime and was one of enormous change in the arts in all European countries, notably with the exciting revitalisation by the Romantics in the 1820s-30s, and a move away from the more formal painting that preceded it.
I also have a particular interest in the history of development of the landscape oil sketch from the mid-18th century. These are beautiful works and very accessible and attractive to collectors and museums.
3 What challenges are facing the trade in the coming months?
A great challenge will be maintaining the interest of buyers and collectors at a time when there is little possible face-to-face interaction with the dealers.
As the internet grows in importance in all fields, this will require the development of increased trust between dealers and clients in accuracy of description and quality of images.
Building relationships will be ever more important.
4 Have you noticed any collecting rends in the last 6-12 months?
The great names in our period, Turner and Constable, David, Ingres and Delacroix are well known but the cast of painters that surrounded them and other nationalities, notably of the Romantic school, have attracted broader interest recently here and in the US.
5 What are your plans under the latest restrictions?
The impact of the internet has increased greatly in 2020, forcing many changes on the trade and auction houses.
It is a time of great opportunity to reach out to new clients when fairs have gone digital and a website is now an absolute necessity.
We are thrilled to be launching our new site in early December to coincide with London Art Week: at www.jamesmackinnon.co.uk
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