How did you get your start?
I have a geography degree and in the 1980’s I was working half-heartedly as a cartographic editor gathering information for the production of atlases, globes and maps. I had my eye on another world and excitedly applied for my dream job as a gallery assistant. On being rejected I decided to start my own gallery. At that point I was living in Scotland and I visited all the major degree shows looking for the artists whose works I liked. Now I’m based in London and I tend to represent more established artists than I used to. Although, in some cases, these are the artists I started representing in the beginning have gone on to great careers and we still work together.
Are you still drawn to cartographic work?
I am interested in the genre – I enjoy look at maps of where I live. Recently at a fair I bought a ceramic globe buy a sculptor with beautiful colours. So I suppose I am still drawn to it.
How has the market changed?
The internet has changed everything immeasurably for better and for worse. The global reach is a bonus but it has also given prospective buyers an opportunity to research and find artists for themselves. As far as social media goes, my employees manage our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts. I remain unconvinced that it has a significant commercial impact.
What is one rule you live by as a dealer?
Ensure buying from us is a good experience – fun as well as professional – and that relationships with the artists are as important as are those with the clients.
Why are you exhibiting at the LAPADA fair?
To reach top-end international clients and have a great week in Mayfair at a supremely organised event with huge trees growing through the tent and great coffee on site. No other fair offers you a choice of 16 types of light bulb. This is my second year at the fair and it’s the only one I do at the moment – though over the years I’ve stood at many others.
Where do you see your gallery in 5 years?
After more than 30 years it is time to start considering a succession plan. I would like to find a younger version of me, work together then slowly hand over and spend more time in the vineyard, on my tractor. I think of this person as someone with a good eye with an appreciation for the importance of quality. They need to be hard working and well-presented. They would need to be fundamentally good at building up relationships with artists and client. There’s so much to do, but the job has never been boring, even for a millisecond.
One “non-commercial” object that you love?
Lavinia, my bright blue vineyard tractor in Devon where I planted a vineyard in 2012. Mine is a diverse life that sees me either in Chelsea gallery finery or sporting a boiler suit at the tractor wheel. My two worlds recently collided when I served the first vintage at a private view.
Real ale or espresso martini?
A glass or two of Hooperhayne rosé before dinner.