Many galleries and online platforms refer to 'affordable art'. It sounds enticing - but what does the term really mean? And what do we mean by it at Spencer House Gallery? After all, art collecting is a pleasurable hobby for some and a serious investment for others, so the word 'affordable' must mean different things to different people, right?
So, let's try, very briefly, to deconstruct what it stands for in general and how we regard the term here in Tetbury.
Firstly, a bit of background around art buying intentions... You may be decorating a new home, love some genres of work or a particular artist or wanting to own an artwork that will appreciate in value. Or, maybe, all three of the above. Each motivation is entirely legitimate and positive.
There's an extreme end to the money-making side of art collection that we don't get anywhere near at Spencer House Gallery. It took off, in an increasingly outrageous way, at the start of the 20th Century, fuelled by agents, connoisseurs (of various moral codes) and auction houses. We have no desire to play that game. Instead, we focus on setting a fair price to reflect the skills, imagination and time involved in creating the artworks of our emerging and established UK artists, as well as covering the cost of any frame or mount. Of course, the gallery enterprise is a partnership between artists and gallery managers, so we also need to cover gallery costs of marketing and showing the work.
We talk to each artist about the price they feel each work should command and what we feel our regional art market will stand. We factor in the experience and reputation of the artist, their exhibiting and selling track record and their regional, national or international recognition. Obviously, work by emerging artists is usually less costly than that of established names.
We encourage all our viewers, buying or not, to come and browse our exhibitions and get familiar with various styles and forms of art and work out what they like, which art holds a connection of fascination for them and why. You can also take a look at our website and our Instagram and Facebook posts – though we feel strongly that nothing matches the experience of actually standing, physically, in front of the work.
Most works from our community of artists are carefully selected to fall into a range of accessible price points in the following brackets: under £100; under £500; under £1,000; under £5,000; and under £10,000. At the lower end, typically, will be limited edition prints and small pieces; at the higher end will be larger, more complex original and unique works by sought-after names.
So, you don't need to be an art expert or a wealthy individual to own a quality piece of art. We show art that will match your budget. Meanwhile, you just need to research what you like, take every opportunity to view art 'in the flesh', build confidence in your preferences and enjoy that connection with the artworks that you buy.