Anthony Fuller

Golden Celebrations of Anthony’s 50 years at the gallery

Growing up surrounded by fine paintings has a curious effect on you. Almost without knowing it, you become immersed in the wonderful world of art and the life and workings of the gallery. Seduced by the romance of travelling around the world and finding extremely special works of art, combined with the joy in meeting some unique and talented artists along the way, your very soul gets affected.

Mr & Mrs Fuller

Anthony was born at the beginning of the second World War, and it was in the post war years, amidst some truly difficult and yet optimistic times, that my grandfather, Bert and my Grandmother, Peggy, nurtured Gladwells into the superb gallery it remains today. Based on wonderful ideals of love for art and pride in the gallery and in honest business relationships and friendships, the gallery went from strength to strength. There was a love and affection for the traditional ways of doing business.

As a small boy Dad had often visited his father’s Edwardian gallery, crossing over from the station at Cannon Street through one of the City of London’s many bomb sites. A path ran diagonally through the rosebay, willowherb and rubble following the line of the old Roman Watling Street and the lost Walbrook river, almost to the door of number 68. Under his feet lay the Roman Temple of Mithras which would only be re-discovered in September 1954 as work started on the site of what would become the modernist Bucklesbury House for Legal and General Insurance.

It was in Dad’s formative years, that my grandfather would take the young Anthony (much like Dad did for me, my sister and my brother) on buying trips to visit artists in France and across Europe. Coming back laden with paintings and bronzes on the plane via Charles de Gaulle and Gatwick, they would arrive home, overflowing with exuberance at the treasures they had secured. A family audience would ensue, with Anthony and his sister Carole sitting in awe whilst Grandfather unwrapped his new acquisitions. I remember the same joy and excitement in waiting up for Dad to come back from a business trip to see what ‘gems’ he had returned with.

Gladwell & Patterson

And so it came to be that on the 3rd January 1968, Dad started work in the gallery with his father at Gladwell and Company on Queen Victoria Street. Forsaking his yearning to teach outdoor pursuits in Colorado with his friends, he decided that discretion was the better part of valour, and at the age of 27 he would join the family firm. Previous employment for NEM had introduced him to my wonderful mum, Shirley and he had decided that he should choose a career, and what better one than the art that had infected his soul.

His new career, working with his father, was at a pivotal moment for the Capital. London in the swinging Sixties was an exciting place to be and for many, the centre for fashion, taste and art. At this time, Anthony was courting a very beautiful young lady who had travelled the World with BOAC and later that year on 30 March, they were to marry.

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It is always going to be interesting working in a family business, and Anthony at 27 was keen to inject some new ideas into his father’s business. Gladwell’s by reputation was a traditional fine art gallery, which his father had managed and run since taking it on from Harry Gladwell in 1926.

For those of you who had the pleasure of visiting the old Gladwell’s corner on Watling Street, you will recall the oasis that existed in the hustle and bustle of the Square Mile. Immaculately run by my grandfather, who was strongly supported by my grandmother, the wonderful old gallery was a haven of consistency in an ever-changing world.

Anthony’s love of art soon found him his own group of clients, and there are precious few people who have met him in the gallery over the years who don’t comment on the infectious joy that paintings give him. Many people’s love of art has been founded on a few minutes in Anthony’s company with some paintings.

The growth of Gladwell’s in the City coincided, and was in no small part due to, the growth of business in the square mile throughout that time. But it was the passion and love that my grandfather and Dad shared for their paintings that fostered many a lifelong friendship with their clients.

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It was a massive shock when, in 1980, my grandfather Bert sadly passed away. It was a huge challenge for Dad, after only 12 short years working with his father, to continue the business that he and his parents had nurtured since before the war, and yet with his mother’s invaluable guidance and his own passion, he went on to thrive throughout the 1980s. With 3 young children of his own, he worked tirelessly to keep the old established gallery going. He felt the added pressure of being the custodian of such a strong and established business. A pressure that transferred into a phenomenal work ethic that would see him take business trips to Canada and beyond for just a few hours before catching the next flight back, having seen and touched first-hand the wonderful works of art he wanted to purchase.

My grandmother continued to help Dad out for a day or two a week throughout the 1980s and would make the train journey up from Goring by Sea to come and check that all was well. As I say, the gallery is in your blood.

Sadly in 1990, my grandmother passed away leaving Dad to run the business on his own and he would go onto steer the gallery though the recession of the early 1990s single handedly. Fortunately, he had to wait just five short years before I joined him in the business in 1995 after a couple of ski seasons and University! My sister Cory joined us a few years later in 1998 following a degree at the Courtauld Institute.

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With Dad’s astute and careful guidance, and our youthful exuberance, the three of us embarked on a period of expansion and growth, initially with forays into exhibiting at fine art exhibitions in the UK and around the world, expanding our reach and meeting new clients and artists.

In 2004, a good friend and client of ours, Faith, came in one day and told us of a gallery in Mayfair that was up for sale, the founder having recently passed away. Faith thought that the two galleries would be a good fit, having a similar ethos. The resultant milestone purchase of the W.H.Patterson gallery from Bill Patterson’s widow Patricia, introduced us to a whole new range of artists and clients and opened up some wonderful opportunities for us.

WHP

The ‘Gallerinas’ then started to grow, and we are now 8 strong. Each new member of the Gladwell’s team ‘specially’ selected to work with Anthony. Dad has taken great pleasure in sharing his love of art and extensive knowledge with these wonderful people who share his passion, and they have now been a consistent part of his working life for the last 14 years.

In 2012 some of the gallery team were lucky enough to view the river pageant for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee on a ship moored in the Pool of London, and then in the September we all crowded into Gladwell’s windows to watch the parade, starting from Mansion House, of the Olympic and Paralympic athletes on floats after the London Olympics.

In December 2012, after a grand closing sale where people came from far and wide to secure a small memento from the historic gallery, the door was finally shut at 68 Queen Victoria Street after over 100 years, as Anthony and the team moved to Knightsbridge. One of the first exhibitions in the opening week was a Robert Chailloux retrospective exhibition with items from his studio on display alongside his paintings, an exhibition Bert and Peggy would have instantly recognised and would have been so proud of, having discovered Robert Chailloux and his work just after the war on a business trip to Paris.

Many of the artists that my grandfather and my grandmother uncovered on these business trips have gone on to become the masters of today, and remain the core of the artists with which the gallery is still associated.

5 Beauchamp

The new gallery on Beauchamp Place has been a source of extreme joy for Dad. I know how proud he is of where the gallery is today and how it has evolved over the years whilst staying true to the integral values that Gladwell’s has always stood for.

Dad often muses on what his father would make of where ‘little old’ Gladwell’s is today, with Claude Monet paintings on the wall, and with some acquisitions dwarfing a year’s takings of yesteryear. “What would my father think of this?” he often says proudly, emotionally and completely endearingly.

I know what pleasure Dad takes from seeing his children in the business and in seeing the fine old gallery that he has nurtured, now for over 50 years thriving and secure in the knowledge that it will continue in safe hands into the future.

So now in early 2018 we invite you to join us in celebrating Anthony’s quite remarkable 50 years at Gladwell’s.

 

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