The Fine Art Society deals in 19th & 20th century British prints alongside paintings, sculpture, furniture and the decorative arts of the same period, and contemporary art. It is the oldest gallery in London, still trading from the building in which the company was founded in 1876.
Print publishing was the basis of the business and Samuel Palmer and James McNeill Whistler were among the artists whose prints we issued in our early years. It was a commission from The Fine Art Society which took Whistler to Venice in 1879 and the etchings which resulted are among the great achievements in the history of printmaking. In the same year we published The Bellman, which, with its companion The Lonely Tower, comprise the summit of Palmer’s work as a printmaker.
Over 140 years the gallery has staged many print exhibitions including two of works by Dürer, five Rembrandt shows as well as artists such as Frank Brangwyn, Gerald Brockhurst, Norbertine Bresslern-Roth, Frederick Griggs, Hokusai, Martin Lewis, Charles Meryon, Walter Sickert, Anders Zorn. In 1917 the gallery showed The Great War: Britain’s Efforts and Ideals, the largest and most ambitious publishing project of the First World War.
Gordon Cooke has overseen the prints in the gallery for twenty years. He has been a print specialist for over 40 years, is chairman of The London Original Print Fair and was a founding member of The International Fine Print Dealers Association. His fascination with Palmer, Whistler, Sickert and other British printmakers of the 19th and 20th century informs the stock the gallery carries and the programme of print exhibitions.