After more than two decades on the British high street, the UK's leading art retailer is celebrating a milestone anniversary. Read this special commemorative edition to find out more from their artists and staff about what makes Castle Fine Art truly special.
From our longest-serving stalwart (we’re looking at you, Lawrence Coulson) to the newest members of our ever-expanding family of artists, we’re honoured to work with such talented people. It was incredible to receive touching messages of support for our 25th anniversary, along with some specially-created artworks!
“Castle Fine Art has helped me beyond words. They’ve had faith in me when I’ve lost faith in myself. They know artists; they understand them and let them grow and support them in being the best they can be. Castle go beyond their role as a gallery, they are a family. “They believe in the importance of art like no other gallery I’ve worked with. Their publishing and print abilities are out of this world. Anything is possible with Castle: they believe in what they do, and they believe in you. It’s magical.”
“25 years – happy birthday! It’s been a fantastic journey, and one that I never thought I would have been able to do. Fourteen very fast years have passed with Castle Fine Art and it’s taken me around the world and back again. I feel extremely lucky that I am able to do something like this and have so many people from Castle on the journey with me. Where next?”
“Happy 25th anniversary! I would like to thank everybody
at Castle Fine Art for their help over
the years, and I look forward to many good years ahead. Wishing all the best to the team.”
“The trip I look forward to each and every year is my visit to the UK. For the last seven years, I have been fortunate enough to visit most of Castle Fine Art’s galleries. Seeing my work displayed in such a beautiful atmosphere has been like a dream. “I love the beaches of Brighton, the castles of Windsor, the beauty of Bath, and let’s not forget Cambridge, Birmingham and London. These are all home to the galleries of my friends (family) at Castle, and I am honoured to be a part of their world.”
“Quite simply, it has been my great pleasure
to work alongside the team at Castle Fine Art. It’s a rare
privilege for any artist to be represented in so many galleries by so many enthusiastic and hardworking people. I have also enjoyed meeting collectors.”
“I think it’s every artist’s dream to move from showing his work in his studio to being out in the mainstream, and that is what Castle Fine Art has given to me. I can walk into the galleries around the country and see my art hanging there. It makes me proud. My children will say, “Dad, I’ve just been in Oxford and seen your work”. How great is that? It’s been amazing, so thank you Castle.”
“I just want to say congratulations for running such a great set of galleries, and the guys who work in them. From head office to the framing lads, everyone does a great job. Here’s to another 25 years!”
“Working with Castle Fine Art gives the artists what they urgently need: clout! It’s a fine balance that requires a special degree of time, dedication and expertise that few artists would be able to harness on their own. Growth as an artist is paramount, and Castle offers an arena where this is guided as well as encouraged.”
“It doesn’t feel like a business, it feels like a family. Everybody I’ve met loves what they do. I’ve been in galleries where they just stick your art on the wall, but Castle is so much more than that: it’s an experience. I love what I’m doing too, and the synergy of my vision and paintings with their attitude just seems to gel really well.”
“Happy 25th anniversary, Castle Fine Art! We are so happy and excited to be a part of the Castle family of artists, it has been a pleasure working with such a professional gallery group and their amazing team. We look forward to the next 25 years for sure!”
“I’ve worked with Castle Fine Art for six years now, and it’s been great. Without sounding dramatic, they’ve saved my life. They put me on the map artistically and they’ve given me a sense of identity, which I’ll forever be thankful for. One of the most memorable times for me was right at the beginning of my career, and it was just seeing my work in print and on the website. People could go into the gallery and see them and I could say to my family, “Look what I’ve achieved!”.”
“It’s been an amazing experience working with Castle Fine Art over the last four years. I’ve loved every minute! It’s been fantastic to meet all of the artists that the company represents, along with the whole team working behind the scenes. It’s still surreal to me that my art is in homes around the world.”
“For my friends in the UK and my friends at Castle Fine Art, I have one word for you: considerate. You have all been very considerate to me and I appreciate it. One of my happiest moments when visiting
the galleries was realising I was in the same gallery as Bob Dylan.I hope I do something for the 50th anniversary! I wish you many more successful and happy years.”
It isn’t a celebration without balloons, as Bob illustrates in this truly touching oil painting. Capturing the compassion of nurses throughout history, the traditional street scene memorialises the northern mill towns of his youth. An unexpected splash of colour to his trademark muted palette shows just why he is one of our most versatile and best-loved artists.
No-one captures the innocence of childhood quite like Nigel, whose optimism and positivity shines through this heart-warming tableau. Influences like Walter Sickert, Édouard Vuillard and James Whistler can be seen in the expressive brushstrokes, which embody special moments and cherished memories.
How adorable is this nostalgic throwback?
John is taking us back to our early Castle Galleries days in this bright sketch! Featuring 3D lettering in a nod to his illusionary wall sculptures, this simplistic rendering also includes his signature stickmen, which are inspired by his daughter’s scribbles.
Drawn to circular forms, Roxy has depicted the metallic finish of her animal sculptures in this curved design. Symbolising how everything in life is connected, she uses the circle to evoke happy emotions, which makes this drawing perfect for our anniversary!
Castle Fine Art in one word
Watch our videos
For behind-the-scenes anniversary videos (including a rave with Peter and Jayne Smith!), keep an eye on our blog and social media.
We’re always on the lookout for talented new artists. If you think you have what it takes, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or apply online here . Join our family
HOW HAS THE ART INDUSTRY CHANGED OVER THE LAST 25 YEARS?
The transformative power of art is unlike anything else in this world. With just their creative vision, artists have the ability to incite political movements, champion human rights and influence new technologies. Over the last 25 years, the art industry has gone through a seismic change, and we’d like to revisit some of its key moments with you.
British rave music, along with a bold exploration of subjects such as LGBT rights, race and AIDS. Performance, conceptual and body art made household names of Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin, while transgressive street art adorned the world’s capitals and a digital revolution produced the first ‘internet art’. Activists like the Guerrilla Girls also infiltrated the industry to fight against gender and ethnic bias. In 1992, at the opening of the Guggenheim in NYC, their organised demonstration in response to an exclusively white male show included handing out bags with gorilla heads printed on them for protestors to wear over their faces.
Globalisation and the rise of the internet heralded the use of new media and an increased focus on multiculturism. African-American artists like Lorna Simpson and Pat Ward Williams took centre stage at the infamous 1993 Whitney Biennial (regarded by some as ‘America’s most controversial art show’), while critics and consumers alike embraced works by Latino and Asian-American artists. A market crash in the early 1990s was set against a backdrop of influences from German techno and
The Guerrilla Girls at the V&A Museum in London. Credit: Eric Huybrechts
As the economy recovered, China and India welcomed a contemporary art boom and artists from the Middle East and Iran inspired an international audience. Art fairs took over, while museums across the globe underwent major rebuilding programmes. In New York in 2004, MoMA opened the doors of its new home, while in Paris the Louvre reopened its Musée des Arts Décoratifs in 2006. It was also a decade of celebrations; the Tate Modern opened in 2000 with over five million visitors in its first year, while the Guggenheim celebrated its 50th anniversary. Public art projects included British artist Antony Gormley’s One & Other performance in 2009, which involved 2,400 strangers occupying the fourth plinth in London’s Trafalgar Square for one hour each over the course of 100 days. UK audiences also enjoyed major shows of works by Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, Titian, Edward Hopper and Caravaggio. In Versailles, Jeff Koons pushed the boundaries of taste by installing his flamboyantly kitsch sculptures amongst the opulence of the Palace, including his signature balloon dogs and a rendering of Michael Jackson with his pet chimpanzee, Bubbles.
'Balloon Dog (Magenta)' by Jeff Koons, at the Palace of Versailles in France. Credit: Marc Wathieu
'Michael Jackson and Bubbles' by Jeff Koons, at the Palace of Versailles in France. Credit: Jean-Pierre Dalbéra
Visitors at the Louvre Museum in Paris. Credit: Will Wilson
'Forever Bicycles' by Ai Weiwei. Credit: Ashton Emanuel
In 2010, the Instagram app launched and the world changed forever. From Yayoi Kusuma’s ‘Infinity Mirror Room’ installation to teamLab’s Digital Art Museum in Tokyo, artists began to create ‘Instagrammable’ art that could be shared worldwide via smartphones. Likewise, AR and VR technology encouraged viewers interact with the art. Politics were a recurring theme, as portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama swamped social media, and the election of Donald Trump as the U.S. president in 2017 sparked an outpouring of satirical sketches and illustrations. Similarly attention-grabbing was Banksy’s Dismaland exhibition in 2015, and the shredding of his £1 million ‘Girl with Balloon’ painting at Sothebys that followed in 2018. Elsewhere, the first edition of Art Basel in Hong Kong opened in 2013, African art made an emergence, and retrospective exhibitions of Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat brought seminal works to a new audience. Georgia O’Keeffe’s painting, ‘Jimson Weed/ White Flower No. 1’ (1932) also became the most expensive artwork by a woman, selling for $44.4 million in 2014.
The Albertina Museum in Vienna held an exhibition of Keith Haring's works in 2018. Credit: Heinz Bunse
'Log Lady & Dirty Bunny' by Marnie Weber at Art Basel Hong Kong (2013). Credit: See-ming Lee
This decade has kicked off with a focus on ‘mega-galleries’, following on from the launch of Pace’s new 75,000 sq.ft, eight-storey flagship gallery in New York in September 2019. Despite COVID-19, the $63.7 billion art market is expected to expand as more people embrace online shopping and virtual exhibitions. Leading the way are millennials and Gen Z, who are using their power to invest in diversity in the arts and explore LGBTQ+, race and environmental issues. Along with supporting female artists and artists of colour, these age groups have been instrumental in the pioneering of environmental art. Eco-Visionaries , held at the Royal Academy of Arts in 2020, showcased the artists and designers reacting to pressing ecological issues, including species extension.
As for what else this decade will bring, we look forward to finding out!
Students in Lausanne, Switzerland, strike for 'Grève du Climat' in January 2020. Credit: Gustave Deghilage
'The Toilette (Make Up or Mirror of Life)' by Niki de Saint Phalle. Credit: Fred Romero
TOASTING THE BEST MOMENTS FROM OUR JOURNEY SO FAR
It’s hard to believe that it’s already been 25 years since we opened the doors of our first gallery in Stratford-upon-Avon. Since then, we’ve welcomed customers to our 40 nationwide galleries. We’ve seen our art featured in the national press, collected by celebrities and displayed in homes and venues around the world. But through it all, our family feel and ethos haven’t changed.
Our readers with Fine Art Collector at the top of Ben Nevis
Our event at the i360 in 2019
We started out with the aim of making art accessible for all, and that’s exactly what we’ve done. We’re proud to be a part of the British high street and our success has been thanks not only to our amazing artists and staff, but you, our loyal collectors. From attending our events to reading
Fine Art Collector , subscribing to our emails and entering our Your World, Our Art® competition, you have all played a part in the transformation of our one small gallery into the UK’s leading art retailer.
Our journey has taken us to Santa Fe, New Mexico, to visit Billy Schenck’s studio; to Shanghai for Bob Dylan’s Retrospectrum exhibition, and to the sandy beaches of Montauk, New York, to explore the wilderness with Raphael Mazzucco. We’ve launched collections with Sega, 50 Shades of Grey author E.L. James, Pelé and Playboy to name just a few. And you’ve been there every step of the way.
Out on location with Billy Schenck in Monument Valley in 2019
Pelé with Gordon Banks in 2015
Visiting Raphael Mazzucco's studio in Montauk in 2018
Along with famous faces, we’ve signed previously undiscovered talent, who are now amongst our most beloved artists. We’ve taken a chance on people because, 25 years ago, people took a chance on us. Our artists hail from all over the world, from every genre and discipline, and this is something we are all immensely proud of.
Nigel Mason at our Christmas party in 2016
Scarlett Raven in 2014, at the start of her journey with us
“I started here almost 10 years ago and it is still the positive, caring, challenging and ever - evolving business that I joined. This keeps me motivated and proud of our company and the people within it.” Peter Gilby Regional sales director
Nigel Humphries at our Summer Exhibition in 2016
Our award-winning customer service ensures that we treat everyone – whether it’s a celebrity or someone visiting us after a hard day at work – with the same respect and kindness. No matter if it’s your first time ordering online or you’re a seasoned collector, you’ll always receive the full Castle Fine Art experience. As we embark on our 25th year, we are just as optimistic as we were on that first day of opening our original gallery, despite the very unusual challenges that 2020 has presented. We have much planned for this special and momentous year ahead, and we can’t wait to see you soon.
We were honoured to showcase Stuart McAlpine Millers collection at The Savoy in 2018
“I have loved it from day one. I am so proud to say that I work for Castle Fine Art and a company that is so open to change. Each day, cliché as it is, is never the same.” Nic Beese Area sales manager
Music star Coolio with his Raphael Mazzucco artwork in 2018
Terry O'Neill and Simon Claridge in 2017
Vic Reeves, Billy Connolly and Bill Wyman at the launch of Born On A Rainy Day in 2012
“My highlight will always be watching the connection between our clients and our artwork. It really is an honour to be a part of that emotional journey.”
Talia Melesi, assistant gallery manager, Cambridge
Stacy and Talia from our Cambridge team
Getting creative behind the scenes for our Summer Exhibition in 2017
Our Great British Bake Off inspired competition put our HQ teams to the test
Celebrating our success at the Birmingham Business Awards in 2019
Behind the scenes of our faming and mounting department
“My biggest hero since I was a little girl growing up in the 70s has always been Billy Connolly, so it was a huge honour and privilege to meet the man himself at his artist appearance in Glasgow. I was nearly in tears because I was so blown away. I will never forget this for as long as I live.”
Nicola Duffy, gallery manager, Glasgow
Our Glasgow gallery manager Nicola Duffy with Billy Connolly
“During my 17 years at Castle Fine Art, I’ve met colleagues, artists and clients that have had an incredible impact on me. These include Katherine Jenkins, Ronnie Wood and Pelé, but my fondest memory is helping a young student to find an artwork that reminded her of her late grandma. Only in this business can you share these moments.” Richard Roden, sales director
Model and actress Claudia Schiffer with her Simon Claridge artwork in 2018
Our group MD Ian Weatherby-Blythe and artist Emma-Leone Palmer at the opening of our flagship South Molton Street gallery in 2019
Stephen Simpson showcasing his collection at Emporio Armani in 2019Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18
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