Fri, 28 Aug 2020
Despite the difficulties of these Covid times, Kingsclere art gallery Jenna Burlingham Fine Art has been busy. After nearly three months of lockdown, the gallery reopened in mid-June with a Modern British exhibition and an exhibition of the paintings of contemporary artist Martin Yeoman. Trish Lee talks to owner Jenna about the little gallery with big plans
According to Jenna: “As people have been spending less time out and about, we have experienced an increased interest in art buying for the home. We have had to adapt to new ways of working, including increased presence online and in social media, virtual viewings and socially distant deliveries, but it has paid off.”
Jenna, from Sherborne St John, opened her gallery in 2010. Prior to this she was director of a top London art gallery and worked in the Modern British Art department of a London auction house. She felt that there was a gap for a gallery in the area specialising in Modern British and Contemporary art.
“There are many dealers operating at the very top end of the market, says Jenna, “but it can be quite intimidating. What I wanted to do is to use my knowledge and contacts in the London art market and give people both locally, and through our website further afield, access to art with real pedigree. “We are friendly and approachable and wish to provide everyone with the opportunity to invest in top-quality art, much of it at affordable prices.”
A visit to the gallery is a rare treat, with many visitors being amazed to find museum-quality works tucked away in a village location. But don’t be fooled by the modesty of the location, the gallery spreads its net far and wide, serving clients and artists all over the world and exhibiting at many international art fairs
It has also become known for seeking out work by lesser-known names. According to Jenna, “many female artists from this period were under-represented in favour of their male counterparts. Some such names that are championed are Wendy Pasmore, wife of Victor Pasmore, and Ruth Doggett. They were highly-talented artists in their own right, but because of domestic and family restrictions they are simply lesser known. Now their work is being recognised in its own right.”
Nicholas Turner b 1972, White Vase, 2020, signed, dated and titled verso, oil on canvas
Being in a village location has proved to be an advantage to the gallery over many of its town and city-based competitors. It has always worked hard to serve its customers, having a strong online presence with a website that is kept up to date daily.
A huge amount of effort goes into photographing every piece of art that goes through the gallery doors and showing how it looks framed and hanging on the wall. All images are checked for colour accuracy to the original painting so that customers can buy online knowing exactly what they are getting.
For higher value works, the gallery brings selections of paintings to customers’ homes to show in situ, rather than always having to visit the gallery. “Viewing art in the home as well as assistance with hanging pictures has been very popular with our clients” says Jenna. “I think I’m a bit of a frustrated interior designer, I love helping customers try out art in their homes and helping them make selections.”
Jenna was early in the use of technology in developing her gallery. As well as a great website, the gallery can create personalised selections of art for clients, known as private views. This is how it works: a customer provides information on what they are looking for, whether that is size of artwork, styles or names of artists that they like, colour schemes and rough budget. Gallery staff put together personalised selections of art based on these parameters. A link to a private view with framed images and prices is then emailed to the client for them to browse in their own time. This can be followed by bringing paintings to the client’s home and best prices can even be discussed for purchases of more than one painting.
William Scott 1913-1989, Three Pears and a Pan, 1955, signed and dated in plate, not
So, what of the future? Jenna Burlingham has big plans in the new year for the gallery, including a move to new premises in Kingsclere. The aim is to create an inspirational art destination where visitors can view art in room sets with furniture, textiles, ceramics and sculpture.
In the meantime, Jenna Burlingham’s Modern British exhibition can be viewed in the gallery. Opening hours are: Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 5pm.
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