The latest in a series of temporary sales on Shaftesbury High Street is offering the chance to purchase an artwork connected to Picasso. It’s not a painting by the Spanish artist but the decorative frame that once displayed one of his pieces.
ThisIsAlfred’s Keri Jones popped into the pop-up shop to find out more.
“We’re hoping that, with the Wyley Valley Art Trail coming up, they can all find a good home,” said Hope Elletson, as he showed me his array of wooden and aluminium picture frames of various shapes and sizes. The former Fork And Flowers shop is full of them. Hope is expecting to shift his stock to artists displaying at the 87 Wylye Valley Arts Trail venues, between The Donheads and Dinton, Semley and Salisbury, from the 18thMay.
Hope started supplying frames from a shed in his garden in Salisbury and moved to Wincombe Business Park 19 years ago. He is happy there and says he has no plans to open a permanent High Street store. “It’s good where we are because customers can park right outside. We have quite a large workshop space and it suits our operation more,” he said.
For the next fortnight, Hope is hosting the discount sale to free more space for his groundbreaking sustainable framing business on the Business Park. “About five years ago, we became the only bespoke picture framing and printing company in the world to be certified by the Forest Stewardship Council,” explained Hope. “That’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time because, being in a business that consumes a lot of timber, I wanted to do it in the best possible way. As a result of that we ended up with something like 15,000 meters of moulding that didn’t fit our ongoing operation. So we’ve operated a factory shop for about two years and have probably sold well over half the stock in that time. This is what’s left over from that operation.”
Shaftesbury is an artistic area but Hope still travels to the capital to serve his larger clients. “I go to London every week and we deal with London galleries. We have several artists who exhibit in London, who we work for,” he said. And he has gotten hold of the frames that have displayed the names, because of his connections in the capital.
“I’ve recently come into possession of a whole collection of frames from a top print dealer in London and they all had Picasso’s, Munch’s and Rembrandt’s in them before. Every frame was hundreds, if not thousands of pounds to make originally. They are here and they are looking for a good home.”
Hope led me to a back room where rows of frames were stacked, freestanding on the floor. “So this had a Picasso in it previously. This frame would have been specially made for it,” he said. It was all wrapped up so Hope began removing the packaging on the frame which measured 1 metre by 1.2 metres. “It’s got an Italian sgraffiato-type design in the corner,” he said, describing the etching marks on the paint detail. “It’s probably not actually gold leaf but it’s beautifully hand finished.”
A label revealed that the frame once held Picasso’s 1948 work, ‘La Femme au Fauteuil’. “This frame would have cost in the region of £1,000 pounds to make,” Hope said. I asked how much he would sell it for. “You’re putting me on the spot now,” he replied, before telling me, “One hundred pounds.”
So if you want to present your pictures in frames once used to showcase Europe’s iconic artists, hurry down to 37 High Street. This is the latest in string of time-fixed sales, which have recently included vintage clothes and modern art. We can’t wait to see what pops up on these premises next.