Lockdown request prompts Kentmere House to launch Exchange Art scheme

Winter Hawthorn On Coastal Path, by John Thornton, price £280, at Kentmere House Gallery, York

LOCKDOWN affects people in different ways, notes Kentmere House Gallery owner Ann Petherick, who has come up with a new scheme in response.

“One of my customers rang: she had bought a fine painting from me 20 years ago by a Royal Academician and she had enjoyed it all that time, but lockdown had made her feel differently about it,” says Ann, who runs the gallery in her home in Scarcroft Hill, York

“So, she wondered if she could part-exchange it for another?  And I thought, ‘Why not?’. At a time like this, we have to look at everything differently and do things differently, and so Exchange Art was born.”

Autumn By The Lake, Ellerker House, by Bob Armstrong, price  £350

Under the new deal, any painting in good condition bought at Kentmere House can be considered for part-exchange.  “A valuation is offered and that amount can then be offset against the cost of another painting,” says Ann. 

“Exchange Art is a way for everyone to benefit: the buyer gets a change of scene, other artists sell their work and money circulates in the economy. It’s also a means of supporting the next generation of artists, whose careers will have been especially badly hit. 

“It’s always important to be looking out for the next generation, as they will become the national names of the future.  I have always found this an enjoyable and worthwhile process as – with no auction history to go on – you have to trust your own judgement and the feeling that you may have contributed in a small way to the development of an artist’s career is exciting.”

Approaching Twilight, by Rosie Dean, price £650

Acquiring art does not have to break the bank, stresses Ann. “At Kentmere House, we are proud to exhibit original art with an affordable price tag, so helping those who haven’t yet started their collection or those who wish to add to theirs,” she says.

The gallery stocks only originals – paintings and artists’ prints – by more than 70 artists, many of them nationally-known and members of national societies, at prices from £50 to £3,000. A selection of illustrated books by artists, priced from £10 to £30, is unique to the gallery.

Ann, by the way, has just received a new delivery of “fabulous paintings” by gallery favourite Susan Bower. “Shelter from the rain and come and see,” she tweeted on Tuesday morning.

Hilda’s Friend, by Susan Bower, price £1,200                      

Kentmere House Gallery’s formal opening hours are 11am to 5pm on the first weekend of each month, next up September 5 and 6, and late evening each Thursday to 9pm. “But in the present situation, we’re open anytime: just ring 01904 656507 or 07801 810825 to make an appointment or take pot-luck and ring the bell.”

The Kentmere House website, kentmerehouse.co.uk, is out of action but Ann updates the Twitter account regularly at twitter.com/Kentmere_H_Gall.