Rachel Elwes with husband and colleague Ben. 

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1 What is your area of focus?

Nothing mediocre, we work with things that we love. Our London Art Week exhibition taking place from 30 June 30 to July 7, Alejandro Mario Yllanes (1913-c.1960), Artist. Revolutionary is absolutely fascinating.


Ben Elwes’ London Art Week exhibition features the works of Alejandro Mario Yllanes (1913-60), an Aymara artist from Bolivia. The monumental pictures are offered for prices in the region of $500,000–1.6m and include this 1937 oil on canvas measuring 6ft 2in x 7ft 8in (1.88 x 2.33m).

2 What is one great discovery you have made?

One sale in particular that still resonates is the iconic abolitionist masterpiece by John Philip Simpson (1782-1847) entitled The Captive Slave acquired by the Art Institute of Chicago in 2008.

Truly a profound and moving genre painting for which the model was Ira Aldridge, the African-American Shakespearean actor.

3 One item you could not do without?

Our Jack Russell Terriers

4 What is your favourite appearance of an antique in a film, play or book?

John Vanderlyn’s The Murder of Jane McCrea of 1804 owned by The Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford Connecticut. It appears in Martin Scorsese’s The Age of Innocence (1993) – a disturbing image that breaks the party mood, a great example of art being used with real narrative purpose, it’s not just decorative.

5 Real ale or espresso martini?

Tunel Herbes de Mallorca on ice.