WHO AND WHERE WE ARE
Abbott and Holder Ltd
Managing Director: Philip Athill
Director: Tom Edwards
Gallery Manager: James McAuslan
General Assistant: Lewis Langham
Accounts: Natalie Duff
9.30am – 6pm Monday-Saturday
30 Museum Street
-opposite the British Museum-
London, WC1A 1LH
Tel: 0207 637 3981
The closest tube stations are Tottenham Court Road (Central Line) and Holborn (Piccadilly Line), which a roughly equidistant from us. However, Covent Garden and Russell Square stations (Piccadilly Line) are also only a short walk away.
Please do call if you would like advice on how best to get to us.
We use this website to introduce monthly ‘Lists’ of new stock (see below), regular ‘Exhibitions’, and to illustrate the rest of our large and varied stock; ‘Other Available Stock’.
We also illustrate a selection of ‘Past Exhibitions’ and an ‘Archive’ of some of the works we have sold since the website was built in 2012.
Images: These are only intended as an indication of the work – please telephone or email if you have any questions about the photograph’s relationship to the original. Hi-res images can easily be emailed.
VIEWING OUR STOCK
While the website has become a vital extension to our gallery in Museum Street, nothing can replace seeing the objects. So, we encourage you to visit, where the display changes most weeks and there are always hundreds of things to see.
If you want to see something you have spotted online it is essential you contact us – we will make sure it is available (we update the website once a month), and hanging. We are more than happy to hold pictures for an agreed time, while arrangements for a visit are made.
OUR MONTHLY ‘LISTS’
Our monthly Lists are published on this website on the first Wednesday of every month. They introduce at least 100 works to our large stock of oil paintings, watercolours, drawings and prints.
An email alert and link to the new List is sent to those who have asked to receive it on the Tuesday evening preceding ‘List Day’. However, nothing is sold from The List before 9.30am on the Wednesday. Those of you who are on the doorstep get first go at the new stock, after which we take telephone calls and refer to emails. While we try to keep telephone and email inquiries in strict order of receipt, there will be times when technological overlaps muddy the system.
If you would like to receive email alerts when ‘Lists’ are published and Exhibitions are announced, please contact us with you full name, postal address (we send occasional cards and catalogues) and email address. We NEVER share you information – see our Personal Data Policy.
To provide beautiful and interesting pictures affordable from income was the aim of Robert Abbott and Eric Holder’s partnership when they first dealt in 1936 during the Depression. For over eighty years it has remained our policy to stock pictures that are within the means of as broad a section of the population as possible. The equation between quality and price is a delicate one, and one that Abbott and Holder is constantly trying to balance. Most of our stock of oil paintings, watercolours, drawings and some prints dating from 1750 to the present day is priced between £100 and £5000.
The first of our Lists was issued in 1942 as a means of introducing and publicising new acquisitions. Our dealing style really found its feet after World War II when Robert Abbott bought a large Castelnau Road house. This acted both as home to Abbott and gallery for the rapidly increasing stock and thus the informal, domestic display of pictures became established as our house style. In the days when supply outstripped demand and watercolours and drawings, many now forming the core of distinguished collections, could be had for a few pounds, the house became something of a Mecca for enthusiasts. Customers were then and still are encouraged to take their time over decisions and to make as many visits as they need, getting to know us and the stock.
The Partnership remained a family matter with the founder’s nephew, John Abbott, joining Eric Holder from 1971-81 until Philip Athill, who, having read Art History at the University of East Anglia was an Assistant, became a Partner in 1984. We moved to the five floor Museum Street building in 1987 and added a Paper Conservation Studio to the Business. On the retirement of John Abbott in 2001, Abbott and Holder became a Limited Company of which Philip Athill is Managing Director. Tom Edwards, after the Courtauld and Bonhams, joined the company in 2003 and is now also a Director.
With the success of our website and the change in people’s viewing habits we realise that we can do all that we have been doing for 80 years, but in less space. Our monthly Lists, the large, varied Stock, the Exhibitions we hold; all can be shown on-line and on the two floors (110 square meters) of our building – the ground and basement – that we are currently developing as the Abbott and Holder of the future. Our Services – mounting, framing, conservation and storage – are being moved off-site. Until this development is completed we are continuing to use the whole building and visitors will find business unaffected.
There are always over 1000 pictures, all are marked and priced, arranged on view over three floors of galleries and on our website. While it is necessary to ring the door bell, Visitors, once greeted and having had our system briefly explained, visitors are left to explore at will. We are always on hand to answer any of the many questions that everyone considering a picture should ask, such as: Who is this artist? How do we know it is by him/her? Is it a good example? What is the condition? Why do we price it thus?
All our attributions are of course guaranteed and, should the attribution of a purchase prove inaccurate, we still offer not only a complete refund but also, as offered on the first List, a box of Black Magic chocolates by way of compensation.
Everything Abbott and Holder has been doing for the last 83 years can be done in less space. Our monthly Lists, the large, varied Stock, our Exhibitions: all can be shown on two rather than the current three floors. So, we are developing our large, high basement to join the ground floor as an ideal two floor gallery space. The upper floors of the building will become separate and self-contained.
Our website already acts as a gallery in its own right and we will increasingly use it to introduce pictures to people. But ‘passing trade’ – how important our window is – and those who love to see and handle the actual ‘thing’ are still a vital part of the business.
Some of you will remember Abbott and Holder in remote Barnes, before our move to Museum Street in 1987. This will be nothing like so radical a change, but just as exciting. We will of course remain open throughout and look forward to seeing you here and talking you through the changes.
July ’19 update on our reconfiguration …
A team of very hard working men have removed the accruitions of the last 150 years from our basement. Three interconnecting gallery spaces and an extra 35 hanging metres have been revealed and will be connected with the ground floor to form a gallery space fit for Abbott and Holder’s future. We hope to open it with our annual September Exhibition of Twentieth Century Works on Paper. However, (should there be a delay), we continue to occupy the whole building as usual.