Thursday, 23 March 2017

Investing in illustration: Interview with John Huddy

Here at the Illustrationcupboard gallery we often get asked whether buying original illustration artwork really is a good investment. So we sat down over a cup of tea with John Huddy, Founder and Managing Partner of the gallery, to discuss the illustration market and discover his top tips on how and what to buy in 2017...

Why is the contemporary illustration market so unique?

The market for illustration goes back a long way, but it’s mostly been for historical illustration. The market for modern and contemporary illustration however is one that this gallery has created. When I started Illustrationcupboard 20 years ago nobody else was doing what I was doing. In fact there weren’t any other contemporary illustration galleries at all or any dealerships in Britain.  

To define and develop a new area of collecting or buying in any industry is incredibly rare and doesn’t happen very often, so this really is an opportunity. There are collectors who come to the gallery and consistently buy a lot of work because they realise the unique opportunity they have to buy artwork at entry level. This is work that’s coming directly out of artists’ studios for the first time ever. It’s not a secondary market, it’s a primary market, and to have the opportunity to create a primary market is a very unique position to be in. 

In time, these illustrators’ work will move into the secondary market. It’s happening already with artists such as David McKee, Shirley Hughes and Angela Barrett; their work is already starting to go through Sotheby’s and Christies and other auction houses. The secondary market will then inevitably develop, there’s no question about that, and then one day there will be a secondary market and no longer a primary market. That’s when you’re into the established art world, like everything else. 

There is a short window of opportunity for collectors, and that is what I find so interesting about this market. In 50 years, I know some of these terrific artists will be seen in the same way that we now look at illustrators from the 1920s. Their works will become classics and I think the prices will reflect that.

What advice would you give to someone buying their first piece of illustration artwork?

Buying is the same, whatever you’re buying. Your instinct is usually correct and your first impressions are usually right. Buy from the heart, buy from the gut and buy what you like. People often ask me, “What do you think about this piece?” and I always tell them the same thing: “If you like it, chances are that there are an awful lot of other people out there who are going to like it too.” And that’s generally true, so you’ve got to follow your instincts. 

What about buying an illustration as a gift?

The best gifts to give people are the ones that you really like yourself. People will appreciate a gift, however small it is, that has been given with consideration, with thought and some passion. People can always see that, I think. A lot of purchases are driven by nostalgia as people want to buy things they grew up with or pieces they know their children will enjoy.  I envy these children. It's such a special thing, to own an original from a book you love, something you will always have and can pass on to your own children.

Top five illustrators to invest in this year?
Alexis Deacon
David McKee
Shirley Hughes
Angela Barrett
George Butler

To discuss purchasing an original illustration or to talk about your collection, call the gallery for a chat on 0207 976 1727 and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have.

You can browse our collection online at or visit us at the gallery at 22 Bury St, St James’s, London, SW1Y 6AL, open 9:30am – 6pm Mon-Fri, 11am – 5pm Saturdays.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Meet Ingram Pinn, Political Cartoonist for the Financial Times

This month we are excited to launch a major solo exhibition of political cartoons by Ingram Pinn, illustrator for the Financial Times. Since 1987 Pinn has produced his own comment each weekend for the FT and illustrated further articles throughout the week. Ahead of the exhibition, we caught up with Ingram about his recent body of work which draws upon key moments from 2016’s turbulent political landscape... 

Words by Ingram Pinn:

"2016 has been a tumultuous political year, and 2017 looks like being even more disturbing. With Brexit throwing the UK political establishment into turmoil and the election of Donald Trump turning US policy on its head by tweet, politics has certainly become less predictable. All this of course provides endless fruit for a political cartoonist to pick at, as every day one absurdity overturns another. Sadly for the world, the worse things get the more there is to make fun of, although these surreal times often seem beyond satire.

Early in the year talk at the World economic forum in Davos was of artificial intelligence and robots taking our jobs, but more immediate concerns soon grabbed our attention. A surprise (for pollsters) vote for Brexit was followed by the farce of Cameron’s resignation and Gove stabbing doubles partner (it was Wimbledon time) Boris in the back. Those who voted to leave found that like a collapsing line of dominoes their vote ended with Theresa May, who supported the remain side, as our new prime minister. With the motto ‘Brexit means Brexit’ meaning nothing and challenges in court I drew Theresa May perched on a Brexit rocket (it was Nov 5th) while judges held the matches to light the fuse. Theresa went to Brussels to plead the UK’s position where European council President Donald Tusk said that they were not a lion’s den but a dove’s nest. I drew them as the fiercest doves you could imagine. Eventually parliament voted to launch the UK into an unknown future, like the Toy Story “to infinity and beyond”.

The war in Syria allowed Putin to expand his power stirring up trouble all over the place and spreading refugees across the world. The sad plight of refugees were a continuing topic through the year, with the EU showing no unity of purpose, batting refugees across borders like balls in a tennis match and leaving Angela Merkel to take all the flack for welcoming them to Germany

Trump trumped it all by beating all expectations and becoming the most powerful political leader in the world. His hairstyle is a gift to all cartoonists, but surprisingly difficult to make sense of, as are his constant tweets, many of which were attacking his own secret services. I drew him as the statue of liberty, smoke pouring from the torch and the constitution replaced by his book “the art of the deal”.  Warming the world both politically and environmentally.  On inauguration day Trump leads the parade, banging the world with his America First drumsticks, while Chinese president Xi Jinping looks, on acting out the role of the new face of moderation." 

Ingram Pinn, 2017

Press images and more information from Daphne Shen on 0207 976 1727 
All Artwork is for sale. Online preview available on our website 
Weekdays 9:30am - 6:00pm, Saturdays 11:00am - 5:00pm 

Opening night private view and press reception; 15th March, 5.00pm – 8.00pm 

Exhibition runs from 15 March - 8 April 2017 

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