Great Art, A Great Investment

Art at all levels can be a fabulous investment. Whether you are buying a Georges Braque that we are currently working on or an attractive oil painting for a couple of hundred pounds whilst browsing through the pages online of LoveAntiques. Always the best thing about art is you have bought it to enjoy and so often artists that fetch a few hundred pounds today can quite easily be an artist that is sought after in the future.

A Georges Braque Painting

This Braque we are working to authenticate currently for a buyer did not cost him a fortune. He bought it because he liked it and has already said he will not like it less if indeed it turns out to be by 'a follower of Braque' as it was originally listed when purchased. Try and simply buy the best you can afford. A competent painting on good canvas with a nice frame will not only give you joy but if it is a good quality item will be something that you can resell at a later date if you decide it doesn't fit with your new decor if you move.

Quiet often the frame is overlooked, so make sure you scrutinise everything. Or maybe even keep your eyes open for the odd and unusual, like a story we came across recently. An anamorphic picture.

The owner of this particular painting had taken what looked like an artist’s palette (framed) into her local auction house and told them she knew the item was worthless but the frame was worth about £50. Quiet by chance I was listening to this tale first hand and a rather wonderful story unfolded with a bit of investigation.

Braque Signature

When the Royalists were running from Cromwell’s soldiers they would be hanged if they were found with anything that showed they were supporters of the King so they would find ingenious ways of having an image of their monarch. The palette turned out to be an anamorphic painting, all you needed to break the painters code was a polished silver cylinder, something Cromwell’s rummage crews didn't carry. Place it in the centre of the palette and there coming to life before your very eyes is Charles the first. Value? The price of a new small family car. The lady was right about one thing though, the frame was worth about £50. She decided to consign the item and it did very well.

Our rich history of artists and now our access to information on the Internet makes buying a painting a great journey of discovery every time before and after purchase. It's not every day something like this turns up and it's not going to be every day that you buy a lost Constable for £30 as one of our recent clients did but that shouldn't detract you from collecting great art, even if the only increase you see in value is inflation, so here's some great tips for buying whether it’s at an art fair, an auction or on the Internet:


  • Only buy what you like, remember you have to live with it and regardless of cost buying to impress or because you think it's going to be a financial winner can so often backfire. So keep it simple, if you love it, but it, if you don't. Don't.
  • Decide on a price and stick to it. Auction fever gets everyone and over stretching yourself for art is foolish unless you are a dealer who is happy to take chances. Buy the best you can but at the price you set yourself.
  • Before parting with your hard earned cash do some research to see if you think the price is right, never be afraid to tell the seller your findings, there is nothing a dealer likes better than a well-informed buyer to negotiate with rather than a person who just asks for a discount because he's seen people do it on the TV antiques shows
  • Size. Make sure you have the space for the painting you have bought. You don't want the painting arriving and finding the only wall it could fit on is one of the gallery walls in the Tate
  • If possible only buy original art work. That's not always possible if you have fallen in love with that limited edition print, but it’s more likely your original work will have more love to give having been created by a person rather than a machine and may be a better investment. I did say may remember
  • Ask questions. Never be afraid to ask, and that goes for any art and antiques buying. People have forgotten a bit why dealers exist. Yes to sell the public great things but just as importantly to pass on their knowledge to the customers they serve. Find some dealers you like and trust and get to know them, it will help your buying and in the long term make you more money than going it alone
  • If you are buying online make sure your new purchase if you are not collecting it is shipped by a company that knows how to handle art. The last thing you want is for your new purchase to arrive in a bad state.
  • Finally, if you are buying online make sure your monitor or screen delivers you the correct colour on images. It sounds daft but how often can the wrong colour setting make an image look better, or worse. Simple tip but get it right.


 Also, if you find something you think is wonderful do not be afraid to run it past us, you may have the next John Constable on your hands.

Happy hunting!

Curtis Dowling