Who? What? When?
Over the years I have collected many things with my first loves being Art Deco, Art Pottery circa 1890-1940 and the Arts and Crafts Movement. I still have some of these from as long ago as 1976. Apart from enjoying most aspects of collecting I have always seen the acquisition of beautiful artefacts as a preferable alternative to investing money in bank savings accounts and such-like. I have been collecting Indian, Himalayan and South East Asian art since 1994. By 1995 having been made redundant from my job as teacher and seeing at a local university a degree course available offering modules relating to Indian art I applied to enrol. My previous academic experience was taken into account allowing me to negotiate combining years one and two so that I could graduate only two years after starting. In 1997 I achieved an Honours Degree in History of Art & South Asian Studies (De Montfort University, Leicester, UK). I then started an MA at the university's now defunct PRASADA but was unable to resist the lure of Indian miniatures by spending savings for course fees on paintings instead! This meant leaving the course and finding a new teaching job. However the legacy of PRASADA was to prove of great importance - whilst there I was privileged to make acquaintance with scholars and other experts in the field, many of whom were kind and patient when it came to my subsequent reliance on their expertise and I am fortunate to still on occasions discuss with them paintings that I acquire. Amongst this circle are museum curators of repute, both past and present, respected scholars and authors and like-minded dealers sharing academic approaches to their businesses.
Since 1994 I have enjoyed the perhaps compulsive acquisition of substantial numbers of Indian miniatures alongside associated publications which now make up a sizeable private research library. Along the way I made substantial loans to Leicester Museum then the now defunct British Empire and Commonwealth Museum, Bristol. Both museums acknowledged and used my own detailed provenance of the artefacts for lectures, exhibitions and publications. In 2007, Leicester Museum took in an amended version of my undergraduate thesis on Gujarati dowry embroideries, written to benefit their large but then uncatalogued collection which had been acquired in the 1970s.
I first started this website as an amateur with the idea of establishing a network for myself and other collectors to exchange with each other paintings from their own collections and to occasionally sell a few of my own paintings if with that money I might make a better investment buying a single more desirable one, a common trait amongst the most keen collectors whatever their field of interest. In October 2009 after having moved from England to Wales and teaching at the local university I very soon found myself out of contract with scant prospects for continuing work as an ESOL teacher. At this point with mortgage to pay and no job prospects - and no provision having been made for such a situation - my hand with unseemly but necessary haste was forced into converting my hobby into a business. Since I had no capital funding many of my former investments - Indian miniatures - had to become initial stock. To my great surprise this unplanned new venture became a case of being in the "right place at the right time" with the website evidently serving a need so that turnover quickly crossed the threshold for VAT registration - without my realising it. Since, the website and running of the business have I hope become more professional with website visitors established at around 15,000 per year. Many report that the archive is considered a significant research tool for visitors' own use and in years that followed I have seen a great many of my images posted on Twitter, Pinterest and other webpages, blogs, forums, etc. In late 2015 I made the decision to from then offer on my website only my most 'affordable' paintings (priced below £500) with the former website galleries which had more expensive paintings replaced by e-catalogues. These are now discontinued as following cancer treatment I have stopped selling paintings via this website and am now in semi-retirement.
Article published in MARG
March 2011 saw publication of my essay Led up the Garden Path. The Rose Garden Hidden by History by the long established and venerated Indian arts publisher Marg, in Vol. 62 No.3 of its quarterly magazine. This identifies a series of paintings from the Deccan which hitherto puzzled scholars, curators and their like, mostly due to folio inscriptions spuriously referring to the Qutb Shahi dynasty.