A Conversation with James Lloyd:
Director of Burlington Paintings, London, England
By Pierce Anderson

Pierce Anderson: Could you speak about the origin of Burlington Paintings?

James Lloyd: My father, Angus Lloyd, and partner Michael Day set up Burlington Paintings in 1981. My father had been a partner for fifteen years in another west end gallery until he acquired our current premises at 10 & 12 Burlington Gardens, situated at the southern end of Savile Row (famous for its tailors), and between Bond St. and Regent St. I have been with the gallery for eleven years, and my father is now retired from day to day business but maintains an active interest. The family origins in the art world started with my great uncle who was a major collector of art, notably JMW Turner watercolors, and was also Chairman of Christies Auctioneers in the 1950’s. His collection eventually was bequeathed to the British Museum.

"We deal with primarily 19th and 20th century European artist working between 1840 and 1960"

PA: How many artists do you represent? Could you mention a few of them?

JL: We deal with primarily 19th and 20th century European artists working between 1840-1960. In this period there are 400-500 artists in which the gallery is known to sell, however the availability of stock is very much dependent on the market place. We represent four contemporary (living) artists. The most important two are Robert King RI RSMA and Larry Norton, from Zimbabwe.

PA: How does the gallery decide on what exhibitions to curate?

JL: We put exhibitions together with our contemporary artists every 2-3 years, and the theme is decided well in advance. The next proposed show of Robert King’s work will be entitled Around the Mediterranean, and we intend to hold another major wildlife show of Larry Norton’s work in 2003.

For our stock paintings of 19th and 20th century it is more difficult to gather the paintings of one artist or a specific theme as stock is determined by what is available at any one time in the market place. Therefore, we publish a major catalogue of our paintings twice a year and this is mailed to our client list worldwide. It is also published on our website and emailed to all our web based clients.

PA: During my recent visit I learned that the gallery has affiliations with New York City galleries. What galleries in New York do you work with, and how does this relationship work?

JL: We certainly have relationships with a number of galleries in New York, although I would not actually say we conduct much

business with dealers in the United States or the United Kingdom. The majority of the paintings we sell are sold directly to our clients and collectors worldwide. Approximately 35-40% of our turnover is with private clients in the USA.

PA: Can people purchase work by artists that you represent in New York?

JL: Many of our clients come from New York and the surrounding states, and collect work through a variety of ways. They purchase during visits to London, via transparencies and photographs, and we are now conducting a growing business through our website and sending quality images through email. We are currently looking into establishing an annual show in the New York area so that many of our clients and new clients can collect and learn more about the European art market of the 19th and 20th centuries.

PA: Of the artists that you represent which one is the most popular with the public? What makes this artist so popular?

JL: Art is a very personal choice and taste. What is ideal for one person is not the liking of the next, however certain subjects are very popular. Perhaps one of the most popular is views of Venice. In our area of specialization one artist that stands out for his appeal is Antoine Bouvard Sr., who painted evening views of Venice that have very appealing senses of light. These works sell well since Venice is such a romantic place with international appeal.

PA: Does the gallery have any ties with museums in London?

JL: We do have very specific ties with museums in London, and do place paintings with museums. This past summer we sold a painting to the Yale Centre of Art in Newhaven, Connecticut, USA.

PA: During my travels throughout London I noticed both museums and galleries focusing on classical realist painting. What do you attribute to classical painting remaining so alive and prominent and not superceded by the influence of contemporary art mediums such as video?

JL: I think the classical style, i.e. realism will always be popular because it is relatively "fashionless."

There will always be a trendy/fashionable section of the market but this tends to come and go. The 19th and 20th century has many fine artists who were at least taught the basic techniques of draftsmanship that seems so sadly lacking at art schools today.

PA: What criteria does Burlington Paintings use in selecting artists to exhibit?

JL: The artist has to be in our view technically excellent and a master of his/her subject.

We are interested in offering the very best in all subjects we deal, and a price level that is competitive to the market place.

PA: What would you say makes the art scene in London different from scenes in other European countries?

JL: I think that we have an enormous variety of art to offer in London, unparalleled in any other city in the world, from old master through the 19th century, to very modern avant-garde.

PA: What types of people typically attend opening receptions at Burlington Paintings?

JL: Our clients include, politicians, celebrities, business people, and entrepreneurs from London.

PA: Does the gallery work in conjunction with any community events?

JL: We sometimes hold exhibitions in conjunction with a charity, and the proceeds of a catalogue or sales from the exhibition will go to the charity. Our last Larry Norton exhibition was to aid the wildlife charity Tusk Trust, and the celebrity, Rory Bremner opened the exhibition live on TV in which a painting was sold for GBP 5,500 (8,500 USD) that benefited the charity.

"We are probably the most progressive gallery in London. We have maintained a fully functional website for four years"

PA: Can the gallery be contacted via Internet to purchase artwork? Does the gallery ship internationally?

JL: I have a particular interest in the Internet. We are possibly the most progressive gallery in London, in the sense that we have maintained a fully functional website for the last four years. Direct sales have resulted from this as well as a steady stream of inquiries and valuations. We have acquired a number of paintings for stock from private collections and then placed them with private clients through the Internet. The medium is perfect for an art gallery of our size. With our expertise in our particular field we are able to make our stock quality paintings available to a much wider clientele through our website. In five minutes of viewing our site a client can get a good feel of the type of art in which we specialize. If clients have a specific interest, whether it is a subject or an artist, our database tracks client’s interests as paintings become available and an email image can be sent. Our site will be upgraded with many new features in 2000. This will include regular on-line newsletter, a forum for clients and visitors to discuss topics of interest relevant to the art we handle, and a virtual art gallery.