Commissions: When Only Going Bespoke Will Cut It

Ever wondered if our artists do requests? Yes, and it’s easier than you think.

Left to right: the sketch, underpainting and finished painting, commissioned by two of our collectors to celebrate their wedding.

“We’re REALLY into this artist. If ONLY they’d paint…”

It’s a common refrain, and one we’ve heard countless times.

There are just moments when you want something incredibly specific and you want it now.

The good news?

All you have to do is ask. A bespoke commission, tailor made to your every specification is only ever a conversation away.

How Does It Work?

It starts with an idea. You’ve seen an artist you like and you’d like them to paint something. It could be similar to something you’ve seen in the past; it could be entirely brand new.

It continues with a conversation. Get in touch with the gallery. Whether it’s practical or abstract, we can discuss any thoughts, questions or queries you might have. From size to style to price to timeframe, we’re here to explore the possibilities.

Your artist gets to work. Based on your ideas and vision, your artist will produce a series of sketches. Each slightly different to the other, you can choose which feels closest to your idea, giving feedback to the artist, discussing what you like and anything you might like to see more of.

Artist Ed Robinson working on a sketch of St.Katharine Docks.

The artist then produces a final, more detailed sketch for your approval. Once you’re fully satisfied, a 50% deposit is paid and…

Work begins on your painting. This is the easiest part. You can sit back and relax while your artist disappears into their studio and does what they do best. The gallery can provide updates at key points along the way and perhaps discuss framing, but generally you can lie back and think of England while your painting is bought to life.

Once complete, your painting will be delivered to the gallery for the grand unveiling. Upon your full satisfaction with the final piece, the remaining balance will be paid and delivery will be arranged.

Congratulations; you just commissioned a personalised, bespoke piece of art. Stunning.

Jorge Aguilar, Pippa Chapman and Andrew Grant Kurtis; just some of the artists who’ve undertaken commissions for our collectors.

Common Queries

How Much Will It Cost?

Virtually every single person I’ve ever spoken to about commissions is under the impression that it’ll be a more expensive product because it’s a bespoke service.

Pictured: You?

That’s just not the case. If an existing painting by the artist you’ve chosen is X size and X quality at X price, your commission of the same size and same quality will be exactly the same price. Theres no price premium for commissioned work.

How Do We Pay For It?

It’s a lot easier to pay for a commission than for something picked straight off the shelf.

Because the artist requires a 50% deposit to get started and the remainder upon completion, you’re spreading the cost over however long it takes to complete.

Julie Andrews here is a nun, and also a metaphor.

If the artist needs eight weeks to finish your painting, that’s eight weeks (and possibly a couple of extra pay cheques) in between you and having to pay for it all at once.

Here Are Some We Made Earlier

Allan Stephens

We were approached by a couple who were going to get married on Tower Bridge.

They wanted to buy each other a painting to commemorate the occasion and were immediately hit by Allan Stephens‘ style and sense of fun – but did he ever paint Tower Bridge?

As luck had it, Allan was due to be in London, so we made arrangements to all get together.

Allan came armed with a handful of very rough sketches, simply blocking out views and proportions.

After a few minutes of talking to our couple about what they were after, Allan grabbed his pencil and sketch book and legged off towards Tower Bridge. (Paying all this rent for a central London location has it’s advantages).

Of course, Allan being Allan, he came back 15 minutes later with the below – he’d nailed it first time.

No revisions, no alterations, so second drafts. Our customer was thrilled. This was their painting.

Their only request – if they sent Allan some photographs of the day, could they be amongst the figures at the front. Of course.

The first image to come out of Allan’s studio was the full canvas, blocked out to give our collector an idea of how the final piece would sit and  very rough underpainting/colour study to see if Allan was on the right track colour/time of day/weather wise, etc.

Two thumbs up from both our collectors – Allan, go ahead, finish it off, bring it home.

And what a painting he came screaming across the finish line with.

Suffice to say, our (now newly-wed) couple were absolutely thrilled. It was them, it was their wedding day and it was their painting, exactly as they wanted and yet somehow even better than anything they could have hoped for.

Mission accomplished.

Amanda Jackson

Two of our collectors met, got married and had a beautiful little girl called Aurelia.

They’d always said that once she was a little bit older, they’d like to have Aurelia’s portrait painted.  Kids grow up ridiculously fast, so the idea was to try and catch her just as she was becoming her own little person.

Amanda Jackson was selected as the artist, if memory serves, based on Aurelia’s Mum and Dad being rather taken by one of her paintings of a beautiful little Peter Rabbit.

Amanda came and spent the day with Aurelia (two legs), Lily (four legs) and Mum and Dad, photographing Aurelia (and Lily, who was never too far away) and more importantly getting to know Aurelia.

Sketches were produced and off the back of those, the below sketch was selected for the final composition.

Next – a colour study! This was almost a full painting in and of itself. Our collectors had a very clear idea about the atmosphere they wanted to try and catch, down to the time of year, type of light, even the kind of flora they wanted to see. This required a colour study and Amanda was only too happy to oblige.

One last tweak; “We love everything, but can we have Lily in more of the pose from one of the other sketches?”

Done. And thus…

…Amanda painted the most charming little portrait of Aurelia & Lily hanging out together you ever did see.

Portraits like this are always a challenge – nobody knows a child like their parent does. It’s one thing to create a facsimile of appearance (great prog rock band name btw) but to capture the character and the essence of a tiny little person is something else all together.

Amanda did it with aplomb; Mum & Dad were over the moon.

Ed Robinson

Ah, Watson, welcome.

*Lights pipe, stares somewhere into the middle ground*

The case of the sneaky husband (our collector) and his determination to buy his wife something wonderful for their anniversary.

(Catchy, no?)

The remit: We’d love an Ed Robinson, what we’d really love is a St.Katharine Docks and we want approx 40″ in size, etc. etc.

The complication: All meetings between gallery, collector and artist had to take place in secret and under an oath of silence – this was going to be an anniversary surprise for his wife, and if she got wind of it, the jig would be up.

Ed set to and sketched out some options along the lines of what our collector has sneakily assessed his wife might like.

Our man settled on the below sketch – landscape, bridge up, thames barge in lock, The Ivory House in the background.

His only request: could there be slightly more water in the lower third of the painting – St.Katharine Docks, for him, is all about the water.

Ed went back to his studio, and produced the below. Absolutely stunning.

The final twist was that we had to put it in our main window as sold, so our collector’s wife could walk past and think she’d missed out on an incredible new Ed Robinson.

Of course, all was well come the morning of their anniversary. By all accounts, having no idea what she was opening, she got the packaging half way off before she realising and bursting into tears of joy.

These are just a small handful of the many commissions we’ve arranged over the years.

We’ve helped all sorts of different people to realise exactly what they want, get it out of their heads and, with the help of some brilliantly talented artists, get it up on their wall.

It’s an exciting, engaging, fun and involved collaboration that makes owning a wonderful, original painting even more personal than ever.

The only real question is… what are you waiting for?

Bespoke Commissions from The Alexander Miles Gallery Ltd. Visit us at our St.Katharine Docks gallery, get in touch via e-mail or give us a buzz on +44 (0)207 481 1199

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