In the first of a new series, we interview Geoffrey Hughes, Director of The Osborne Studio Gallery. Here he talks about forthcoming exhibitions, equestrian and racing art, as well as Lucy Dickens, the great-great-granddaughter of author, Charles Dickens.
Belgravia is famous for many things. It’s properties, personalities and provenance stretching back many centuries. Yet the area attracts art collectors, too.
Enter The Osborne Studio Gallery in the heart of Belgravia. Many people stroll past unaware of the treasures within, while others discover the latest masterpieces exhibited in one of London’s best galleries. It specialises in equestrian and racing art, showcasing contemporary pieces by world-class artists.
The gallery has a long pedigree, opening first in Floral Street, Covent Garden, London WC2 in 1986. Geoffrey Hughes (Director) set up the gallery after an early career in the grand auction houses across the UK, the US and South Africa.
It was named after the sculptor James Osborne, who was integral to its founding and running in the early years until his death in 1992. Motcomb Street, London SW1X has been the gallery’s home for the past 20 years.
The legendary racing commentator Sir Peter O’Sullevan was the gallery’s chairman from his retirement in 1998 to 2015. Yet he was an enthusiastic supporter from the very start. “When I first opened the gallery, Peter offered great encouragement,” explains Geoffrey. “He enjoyed the private viewings and had his own extensive collection of artworks, some of which we were able to show last year.”
The gallery holds on average 10 exhibitions each year. Sometimes they are one-man shows and other times they are themed exhibitions. Although pictures of horses and sporting scenes are often to be found here, other topics, such as wildlife and landscapes or particular artists that catch Geoffrey’s eye, also feature.
“We regularly represent about 40 artists,” adds Geoffrey. Bronzes and sculptures add a 3-D element to the exhibits, too. “I am attracted to work that is not always conventional, but isn’t wildly abstract, either,” adds Geoffrey.
Last year, Garry Pereira’s moody landscapes and Richard King’s wildlife sketches were showcased, as well as Hubert de Watrigant’s horse racing scenes. Lucy Dickens held an exhibition in the spring at the gallery, showing her figurative scenes of busy London life, painting in pictures where her famous great-, great-grandfather Charles used words. Interestingly, Charles Dickens was married in St Luke’s Church, Chelsea SW3.
Lincoln Seligman is another favourite of Geoffrey’s. His vibrant colours and exotic subjects always guarantee an interesting exhibition. He will return this May with his paintings inspired by a trip to India. Extra colour is added by the fact that Rudyard Kipling was Lincoln’s mother’s godfather.
An exhibition of mixed racing works will open the night before Royal Ascot (Monday, June 18) and continue throughout the event. Clients, as well as the featured artists, are thoroughly international.
Although it is important to Geoffrey that the gallery is a real place, not an online store existing only in the ether. Motcomb Street has a very definite community within the boundaries of Belgravia. A loyal following of buyers and art lovers have become personal friends over the years. “You just never know who will walk in,” says Geoffrey.
The Osborne Studio Gallery promises an exciting year ahead for art lovers.
- For more information on The Osborne Studio Gallery (Motcomb Street, London SW1X) visit osg.uk.com.