About John Robertson

When my daughter started school she was asked by her classmates what her father did. She answered "He looks at pictures". To which they loudly replied " That's not a proper job!"

Now seventy, pensionable and over forty thousand pictures later, I am intensely aware of just how extraordinarily fortunate I have been to have indulged a life long passion, married, raised a family, bought a house, paid into a pension and yet never had a proper job!

I started out by failing my university degree not once but twice! My long suffering parents in Northumberland thought I was hard at work studying the History of Art.

What I was actually doing was enjoying London life in the Sixties, marching on anti Vietnam War demonstrations and running a stall on the Portobello Road. I'd sell anything I could lay my hands on during the week, scouring the numerous junk shops in Ealing, Acton and Hanwell.

After four wasted but formative years I emerged into the real world unemployable, unqualified and pennyless. It was at this low point that I had the great good fortune to meet Ian Read, a successful businessman and picture collector. We opened the Bourne Gallery together in 1971. He was sufficiently trusting and generous to give me enough rope to hang myself with several times over!

The rest as they say is history. It was our privilege over the years to sell to many hundreds of collectors and to place many pictures with Public Galleries and Institutions. These included:

  • The Victoria and Albert Museum
  • The British Museum
  • The Gray Art Gallery
  • Northwich Salt Museum
  • Exeter Museum
  • The Paul Mellon Foundation
  • Vestry House Museum, Essex
  • Colchester Museum
  • Hampshire Museum Services
  • Guildford House Museum
  • The National Museum of Scotland
  • The Museum of London
  • Londonderry Art Gallery
  • Poole Library
  • The Palace of Westminster
  • The National Library of Wales
  • Royal Devonshire Regimental Museum
  • The Worshipful Company of Butchers
  • The Guildhall Art Gallery, London
  • The Courtauld Gallery, London
  • The Watts Gallery, Compton, Surrey
  • The Panett Gallery, Whitby