Established in 1997, Prince & Pilgrim is an intimate, independent art gallery situated in Richmond, Greater London. It specialises in contemporary British painting, ceramics and sculpture.
Prince & Pilgrim’s artists demonstrate a wide range of style and media, yet they are commonly united by a strong, painterly aesthetic. The gallery is particularly partial to artwork from the South-West, and its founding ethos aimed to emulate the friendly, open style of Cornwall’s best galleries.
Prince & Pilgrim promotes artists in their early to mid-careers; keen to influence and encourage their progression in the art world, as well as provide a collection for clients with a variety of budgets. We believe that art is at its best when hung and cherished within the home.
I am often asked two questions about Prince & Pilgrim:
1) Where did you get the name?
2) How did you start?
The name Prince & Pilgrim was taken from the plaques on our stable wall which labelled the stalls of the two horses who lived there in 1902. The horses were called Prince and Pilgrim. We (the original partners) thought the names not only sounded right for our gallery, but were also kind of appropriate for us - the two English partners were the princes and the two Americans were the pilgrims.
The origins of the gallery were a little more complicated but not much. Our family moved to Kew in 1996. Our new home, Norfolk House, with its attached Coach House, was the most wonderful house I had ever seen but also the most run down. Paul and I concentrated on renovating the main house but had to leave the Coach House untouched for many years.
A few years after moving in, my sister-in-law Maeve and I went to an art fair in London. We both loved art and this outing fired our imaginations. What if we opened an art gallery together? Ours would be a friendly space, where everyone was made to feel welcome. We loved the idea of running a gallery where people came to see or buy art and felt comfortable. It would not be intimidating or 'scary' in the way that some London galleries could be. After dreaming for an hour or two, we tried to let go of the idea; we both had small children and running a shop full time was not at all practical. However, a few months and many discussions later, we came up with a plan: we would have a one off art exhibit in the run down Coach House and Stable.
A friend, Jay, was interested in helping us and she introduced us to Sam, an artist living in Richmond Park. Each of us was responsible for finding a couple of artists who we would like to exhibit. We whitewashed the walls, threw down a few rugs and were ready. The show went well and the feedback was positive. We were all on a high and started planning another one. My favourite comment was by someone who had reluctantly agreed to come to the show and ended up being surprisingly impressed. He admitted that he hadn't wanted to come because it was going to be a show put on by "housewives in a garage".
So, many years and many exhibits later, Prince & Pilgrim are still here. It has been taken on by a new generation, now run by Elizabeth, the Gallery Manager. We were recently open full-time in a wonderful location by Kew Gardens Station, and are now exploring other areas and possibilities to drive the Gallery and our artists forward.
All in all, partners have come and gone, the Coach House has been renovated and is still used for large shows, the selection of art work has become more sophisticated, Art Fairs are now part of the programme, but, all in all, Prince & Pilgrim is still the same. "Housewives in a garage" - and proud of it.