More West End art dealers will have to move premises as the trend for galleries finding their leases not being renewed continues.
Firms at 14 Old Bond Street look set to
leave by September 2014 because of redevelopment plans, with the
news coming soon after it was revealed that many dealers
in nearby Cork Street are also facing relocation.
Although some of those Old Bond Street
dealers are now discussing a move to St James's, in order to stay
in the area, it is another blow to the West End art scene where the
likes of high-end fashion chains able to pay higher rents are being
favoured ahead of traditional galleries by landlords.
No.14 houses Cheshire dealer Clark Art's
London office; antiquities dealer Rupert Wace; Ian Mackenzie Fine
Art; Andrew Clayton-Payne; William Thuillier (British and European
paintings 1600-1850); and Day & Faber (Old Master & 19th
century drawings and paintings).
Mr Clayton-Payne set up as a private dealer
in Old Bond Street in 1997 after eight years as head of British
watercolours and drawings at Christie's, and he deals in 17th, 18th
and 19th century English and European pictures from his
"It is sad news," he told ATG. "There were
always going to be rumours that this was going to be redeveloped,
and we were initially told it would be the ground floor and first
floor. But in fact they have now told us our leases will not be
renewed from September 2014 and they are also planning to do
building work before that date, so we are very much in limbo and
not knowing quite what's going on.
"Bond Street 30 years ago had lots of
art dealers, but now we're being squeezed out by these big fashion
houses. London is such a thriving city but redevelopment goes hand
in hand with that. We don't have any power against the big
companies which have so much money."
Mr Clayton-Payne said he fears that
historical features such as tiles and panelling could be stripped
out, and added: "The sad thing is that buildings like this really
should be listed."
He said: "I think some of us will get
together and find a similar sort of thing, probably in St James's;
that's a good option. We can't leave the West End because this is
the heart of the business and we love working here."
Clark Art Ltd are specialists in L.S. Lowry
and Modern British art. Bill Clark said: "My lease at 14 Old Bond
Street won't be renewed. I am unlikely to look for another place in
the West End as it would be far more expensive than my current
premises. I've had the space for nearly ten years now and it's
served me well. It won't be too much of a problem as quite a number
of our London clients come up to Cheshire to visit us."
The building is owned by the freeholders
Unity Re. SpA, who bought it in 2010.
<iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii>ATGasked the firm for a comment
through Newton Perkins, the managing agents for the buildings,
acting for Unity Re. SpA, but they declined.
In August, ATG reported that seven out of
the 22 galleries in Mayfair's Cork Street had been informed their
leases would not be renewed next year. But in October it was
also revealed that five more
Cork Street galleries are facing relocation.