Thackeray Gallery was founded by the remarkable Priscilla Anderson in 1968. At that time, there were only a select handful of established London commercial galleries, and it was an exclusive world to break into, never more so than as a woman in her mid 40’s. Having brought her children up, she was looking for the next adventure. Living in a flat in Thackeray Street, she saw a wonderful opportunity to sign a lease on a property opposite her home, and follow her life long passion of having a gallery that specialised in promoting living British Artists. With the support of a few artist friends from Scotland and the incredible patronage of several special clients, including Robert Fleming, at the time, Priscilla began to establish the name of Thackeray Gallery firmly in the art world, at the same time as being instrumental in building up one of the first and most world renowned corporate art collections with Fleming Bank in London.
By 1970, two years after opening, Priscilla managed to sign up the late great Sir Kyffin Williams, who was a very unknown but highly talented artist at the time. With the important collaboration between gallery and artist, together they established Kyffin’s career and he is now recognised as the founder of contemporary Welsh art. Priscilla also had the vision to take on the beautiful Alberto Morrocco who she discovered in 1977. Both Alberto Morrocco and Kyffin Williams remained with Thackeray Gallery until they respectively died in 1998 and 2006, ending their careers with international reputations.
Priscilla successfully built up and ran Thackeray Gallery for the next 25 years, introducing first class artists into the space, and creating a gallery that earned itself an excellent reputation and standing within the art world. In 1993, the reins were then passed over to Anne Thomson, following Priscilla’s retirement. Anne was running The Sue Rankin Gallery, London, prior to taking on Thackeray Gallery and so merged the best of the two galleries into one, retaining both the Thackeray Gallery name and location. Under Anne’s care, artists gravitated to the gallery, many unknown, some better known, such as the Bloomsbury artist, Joanna Carrington, Michael Honnor, Carey Mortimer and Joe Fan. Now all highly established in every respect. She continued to build on the 25 years before her, and honour the philosophy of promoting and nurturing young artists.
Following an intense period of 8 years, Anne then took a step back and Sarah Macdonald-Brown, the current owner, took over the ownership of the gallery in 2001. Having worked with Anne for three years, Sarah was already deeply involved and committed to the Thackeray Gallery cause and, like the two previous owners before her, Sarah’s vision was to respect the history of the gallery, continue to look after living British artists, and to build a gallery that was open and accessible to all. Whilst continuing to work with and represent artists that started with Priscilla in the 1970’s, such as Ethel Walker and Gordon Bryce, who are still with the gallery today, Sarah also sought out new talent, such as Anthony Garratt and Matthew Snowden, with the desire to grow their careers from the outset into international reputations, like the artists that had gone before at Thackeray Gallery. Amongst these newcomers, Sarah also had the good fortune of bringing in some already very established names, such as the brilliant Jennifer McRae, Judy Buxton, Vanessa Gardiner and Christine McArthur.
Thackeray Gallery is a special place. She has always been in the same space, and yet has grown and evolved over the five decades she has been established. We have clients who drop by who were buyers in the 1970’s, and we all talk about how things used to be. They say ‘it’s wonderful to find Thackeray Gallery still here and still with the same spirit and feeling that it had from the beginning.’ We thrive because of our extra-ordinary group of artists, our loyal clients, and our reputation for being approachable, open and producing exhibitions of the highest quality.
We can only hope the next 50 years be as fruitful and exciting as the last.