Who knew twenty years could be such a short amount of time? At 30 it seems the rest of your useful life, at 50 I’m rather hoping it isn’t. By the Millenium Tiffany and I already had a decade and a half of art world servitude between us. I feel opening our first shop together at the turn of the century was propitious but never some first step in a grand plan of art world domination. As with most young(ish) gallery staff we felt that we had served our time and naturally now knew everything there was to know about running a London gallery, most of all we held that cast-iron conviction that we could manage it all so much better than our existing employers.
I can’t remember if it took a week or a month from opening the door of our Shepherd Market gallery to us wondering if it was all a terrible mistake, and if those clever, wise and lovely people we used to work for would give us our salaries back.
Anyway, in eleven years of Mayfair – the real bit not the smart bit – we quietly built up an impressive artist list and some very lovely and loyal clients. Those who have known us since the beginning often reminisce about the perfectly formed little Georgian shop in Shepherd Market. We too have fond memories but coloured perhaps by the five-people-a-room capacity, no passing space on the stairs, the leak in the upstairs gallery, and the complete lack of sales from the window. Mind you, it was equidistant between Le Boudin Blanc and the L’Artiste Muscle.
In 2006 we purchased Oakham Gallery, in Bury Street, the contemporary half of an existing business, and with it a new stable of artists, Susan Ryder and Johan de Fre amongst them. It also introduced us to a new phenomenon, passing trade. We enjoyed our time in Bury Street and it is fair to say that we flourished there, meeting some extraordinary new clients along the way.
At the start of this decade we fell victim to the gentrification of St James’s–apparently it needed it–as our building was all but demolished and relet to a famous international old master dealer. As luck would have it, we were saved from a Hyde Park railings retail solution by the sudden availability of a rather grand premises on Pall Mall. So here we are, riding out the current storms of uncertainty in a magnificent ex-bank at the heart of the London art world. We still show the most talented artists and deal with the nicest, most loyal and suppor- tive clients anyone could ask for, many of whom are now great friends. Looking at the journey so far, from a twenty year perspective, we are champing at the bit to see what happens next!