Positioned on the sunny Westbourne Grove and nestled alongside pastel-coloured shops and brunch spots lies The Lacy Gallery.
Established in 1960, The Lacy Gallery is a cornucopia of antique picture frames and Russian artwork. Having grown up surrounded by art and all things creative it seemed a very natural step for David Lacy to take when deciding to get into the business. We caught up with David to find out more about his Aladdin's cave of gilded frames and beautiful artwork as well as hear his opinion on the future of traditional framing and what lies ahead for the gallery.
How long has the Lacy Gallery been a part of the Notting Hill landscape?
We have been in Notting Hill for 56 years. In 1960 my father Colin started out in business with half a market stall on Goldbourne Road. He then moved up to run a whole stall in Portobello Road. We then shared a shop with three other picture dealers in the late 1960s on Westbourne Grove for a couple of years before leasing the first shop of our own on Ledbury Road.We bought the shop on Westbourne Grove 29 years ago and have been there ever since.
How did you get into the framing business? Do you have an artistic background?
My father Colin used to find antique loose or unframed pictures and would then look for a matching, historically correct frame. This was unusual in the 1960s. The frames eventually became such a strong part of the business.
Both my parents went to art school and they both went on to be art teachers which is how they met at a school in Shoreditch; my father coming from Yorkshire and my mother from Sussex. I grew up in an artistic family with art and antiques all around; I attended my first auctions in a push chair! It seemed the most natural thing in the world to go into the business.
You source a lot of your artwork from Russia, do you have an agent or do you travel yourself to acquire new pieces?
I source the Russian pictures along with a good friend of mine,Dr John Barkes. Johnhas travelled to Russia regularly over the last 18 yearsandI have joined him several timeson these excursions to discover artists and their artwork.
We also have an agent, Oksana, who uses her knowledge to source the artworks directly from the artist and/or the artist’s studios. With her support we have located and brought back to the Gallery some amazing pieces of art over the years.
Do you have a favourite piece?
I have many! One the joys of being in the art business is constantly not knowing what you're going to see next!
The gallery is spread over several floors and has a huge collection of beautiful frames and artwork. How are the floors arranged?
The Lacy Gallery spans three floors. On the first floor we hold our watercolour and print type frames along with our Russian pictures. On the ground floor you will find a mixture of all our stock frames, pictures and mirrors, and in our basement we have an extensive collection of 20th century frames, wood frames and the overflow from the ground floor's frames. At any time we hold over 1,000 frames.
Your collection of frames is like nothing seen before, where do you source them from? Do you have a criteria when finding a new frame?
I source frames from all over the UK, France, Spain and the USA. Each country gives us different delights and designs.I have a lot of other different sources too!
Who tends to buy your frames?
Our customers include artists and galleries both commercial and national, also museums in the UK and abroad. We have a lot of private customers who either live abroad or are in the local area, and of course we have many local customers. We also hire out frames and art work for film, photography and adverts.
Do you think there will always be a market for picture framing?
I definitely think there will be! Every day that the gallery is open we get encouraging comments. The business has grown naturally every year and I sometimes buy back frames I have sold 15 years ago. Life just continues going round!