Some of my favourite ways and places to find and buy original and vintage art

Hello there, it’s been a while hasn’t it since we last chatted and what a lot has gone on since then. I do hope you’ve all stayed well and not gone too insane since lockdown although it’s been difficult in so many different ways for us all.

A few weeks ago my blog was hacked and contaminated with a malware virus which was not what you want to happen when you have lots of time on your hands to blog and no technological expertise of your own to clean the virus from it. Anyhow I managed to get a suburb local business, The Smart bear, to sort things out and within an hour it was up and running again and I’m quite embarrassed and shocked to say, it was only then that I realised I haven’t written anything on here since January, despite all my good intentions to get back to blogging on a more regular basis.

So yesterday I found myself rehanging some artwork in the lounge, like you do when you’ve had six weeks off work and ideas to entertain yourself are wearing thin. I remembered then, that I’m often asked, as a stylist and dealer of vintage and antiques and predominantly artwork, where I source mine? So I thought a blog about that very subject might be of interest to some of you?

I love art, It’s a passion of mine and I’ve collected it ever since I bought my own home for the first time over 30 years ago. I seek it out wherever I am and I’m always on the hunt for a new piece to add to our collection or to sell through my online store @Theoldpotatostore

A portrait from the Old Potato Store used on a shoot for @91magazine

To me filling blank walls with art is what truly makes your home individual. It says so much about you and truly makes your home feel like yours. Every piece we own tells a story or evokes a memory of where we were when we bought it. It’s very subjective and personal and therefore, it’s so important to only buy what you love. If it makes your heart race or it’s a memento from a special holiday or exhibition you saw that you loved, your favourite words to a song or phrase from a well loved book, then that’s every reason to buy it, dependant on budget of course. For me buying art is visceral and immediate. When buying for my online store @theoldpotatostore, I can buy four pieces of art within less than 5 minutes. If I have to decide if I like it enough, I just don’t buy it. For me it’s as simple as that.

                                                             Artwork sourced for the Old Potato Store

We have a favourite print that we bought from the Jean Cocteau museum in Menton in the south of France on our honeymoon, titled Les Amoureux and it’s hung in our bedroom since we bought it, in one home or another. It always reminds me of a time and a place, of the people we were then, of the years that have since passed, and it always makes me smile.

Collections should grow over time and be added to organically. We have a mixture of contemporary work picked up on holidays, many from the fishing village of St Ives, famed for it’s artists and plethora of galleries and the location of many happy family holidays, prints from exhibitions visited, amateur original artwork painted by friends and vintage art, some painted so long ago that only the sitter would know who the artist was.I also love collecting vintage black and white photography by unknown artists. For me, there’s something so thought provoking about a moment captured in time with the click of a camera? All are meaningful to us though and that’s the point of art. It might not be somebody else’s jam but it’s yours.

                                                        Some of my vintage black & white photography


Although I’ve never bought a piece of art because it matches a colour palette of a room at home, going back again to the heart skipping method, artwork does work very effectively to bring a room together in much the same way as a rug or cushions and with this in mind don’t only limit artwork to paintings, prints or photography. A beautiful textile framed, religious icons or vintage advertising signage or metal typography all adds to the interesting mix. I often sell pieces of antique architectural plaster mouldings through my store which also look amazing hung on walls as this beautiful shot demonstrates.

                                                   Architectural plaster displayed by @Tradchap

               Coordinating your artwork to your interior demonstrated beautifully here at cabana magazine

Think beyond the walls of a room when displaying your pieces. A selection of layered examples on a shelf or mantlepiece, larger framed pieces propped against a wall or art hung high over and around a door frame, all look great. Mix up the style of frames for added impact and interest. A contemporary print, in an antique frame, really elevates the piece from looking too High Street.

                                                                                Image @etalageuk

If you are hanging a gallery wall, then limit it to one wall in the room to avoid the space becoming claustrophobic. Even the most dedicated maximalists homes are carefully edited displays when done well.

                                                                                 Image @gaazioglusule

So now for the bit you all want to know. The secret spots that only stylists and antiques dealers know where to buy the best art? Well I’m sorry to spoil that myth but there aren’t any as such.I’m constantly also trying to find those places, that may or may not exist. My best advice is listed below. Some of my favourite dealers with the eye for the type of artwork that I love, some of the best online one stop websites who promote both antique sellers and contemporary artists and some great art fairs where you can find new, emerging artists, but there is no secret source that I know of. I wish there was but then, doesn’t that make the hunt all the more exciting?

So for antique art I would recommend

For Contemporary pieces and prints I would look at

Well I hope this has been of some use or interest and hopefully it won’t be too long before I post again. Now I have this much time on my hands I really have no excuse. Stay safe, stay well and stay home XX




Leave a Reply