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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 replied " That's not a proper job!"

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

I started by failing my degree not once but twice. My supportive parents in Northumberland assumed I was hard at work studying the History of Art as an external student of London University.

What I was actually doing was enjoying life in the "Swinging Sixties"... attending Vietnam War demonstrations, hanging out at The Alexander Palace "Technicolour Dream Shows" 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. What I really wanted was to be an artist myself!

After four wasted but formative years I emerged into the real world unemployed, 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 to give me enough rope to hang myself with and 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

An Eclectic mix of Pictures and Bronzes at the BADA fair

At the British Antique Dealer's Fair, Chelsea

Vetting pictures at the Olympia Fine Art and Antiques Fair

Sometimes the back can be more informative than the front