THE PICADILLY GALLERY
The Piccadilly Gallery was founded in 1953 by the late Godfrey Pilkington and his wife Eve Pilkington. With Christabel Briggs who became a partner in 1956. The gallery was first housed in the Piccadilly Arcade and then to No.16a Cork Street in 1955. The interior pieces were designed by Architect Neave Brown at the same time he was working on Alexandra Road Estate. In 1978 the gallery moved next door to No.16 Cork Street. The entire gallery was architected throughout the ground and basement floors again by Brown. Sadly in 1999 the interior was entirely demolished by a fashion house before the English heritage could schedule it as a contemporary grade II, fully integrated and fitted interior of the mid 70s. The gallery moved from Cork Street to Dover Street in 1999, and now is warehoused in Fulham and West London. The business continues online and we still have stock of paintings, some of which are illustrated on this website under available stock.
The Gallery made its reputation in the 1960s by championing Art Nouveau and 19th and 20th Century Symbolism. In the 1970s they held ground breaking exhibitions of the Viennese Secessionists and German New Realists. Godfrey Pilkington was not an enthusiast for abstract or conceptual art. He looked for "originality of vision, competence and something not totally unconnected with the old-fashioned concept of beauty", and feared that the fashionable prejudices of the contemporary art establishment were deterring many young artists and buyers from following their true aesthetic instincts. Young figurative artists, he once said, found themselves "up against it" if they resisted the "smart pressure" to produce the kind of contemporary art that gets talked about. Buyers, meanwhile, were becoming "nervous of buying something that they actually like" and were investing in "pictures they don't like because they've been told they are good". While other galleries yielded to the forces of rampant commercialism, the Pilkington Gallery always retained the charm of a kinder, more gentlemanly era. At first the exhibitions in the gallery were of contemporary figurative painters, then Godfrey Pilkington became increasingly interested in British and European works circa 1990. This led to the first commercial exhibition of Art Nouveau in 1964, this was followed in 1968 by the exhibition Les Salons de la Rose + Croix 1892-1897 and Symbolists 1860-1925, Gustav Klimt 1973 and Franz von Stuck in 1974. Since then the gallery has dealt in symbolist works and ruralists. British Art featured strongly with exhibitions of Stanley Spencer, Eric Gill, Max Beerbohm and Augustus John, as well as contemporary figurative artists.