A Trove of Contemporary Cornish Art
Named Best Gallery in Cornwall in this year’s Muddy Awards, there’s more to The Harbour Gallery in sleepy Portscatho than meets the eye
Are you an art buyer? It’s a bit of intimidating prospect isn’t it? For many of us buying a painting presents a minefield of hard-to-answer questions. Is it a good investment? Is it worth the price tag? Can I tell the difference between good and bad art? Can the gallery owner tell I know zilch?
But posters and prints can never rival the magic of a one-of-a-kind artwork, chosen for your home at a particular time in your life. The tactile textures, energy and personality of an original painting or sculpture make it an amazing way to personalise your space and provide a talking point in any room.
Mark Hatwood, of The Harbour Gallery in Portscatho, on Cornwall’s Roseland Peninsula, believes there’s only one question when it comes to buying art. Do you love it? Simple.
The privately owned Harbour Gallery saw off some impressive competition to be named Cornwall’s Best Gallery in the Muddy Stilettos awards this year and Mark’s straightforward and unpretentious approach to the business of buying and selling art is all part of the appeal. No fusty academics-of-the-art-world here – just a genuinely warm welcome and an exciting collection of Cornish land and seascapes, from some of the region’s most talented contemporary artists.
The gallery itself can be found on a quiet Portscatho street, a short walk from the water and if you’re lucky, you will be greeted by Mark’s gorgeous Romanian rescue dog Trudy as you enter. The space upstairs is relatively small but packs a lot in and then a more recently opened basement space houses further work for sale.
Scenes of the local area are the gallery’s speciality and buyers come from near and far, for paintings of their favourite Roseland views, to take home from their holiday or to adorn the white walls of their Portscatho homes. And there is something to suit all tastes, from Ben Taffinder’s plein air, palette knife paintings to Joe Armstrong’s vibrant coastal landscapes.
But behind the quaint village exterior is an ambitious business, expanding and branching out in every direction. Since taking on the gallery in 2012, Mark (a former musician, author and environmentalist) has increased its turnover sixfold.
A big part of the gallery’s success is down on Mark’s digital expertise. While more traditional galleries shy away from selling art online, it’s an important part of business for The Harbour Gallery. Its website showcases both work that is currently on display at the gallery as well as artists’ wider collections, so that paintings that might be taking up studio space have the chance to sell to a worldwide audience.
As well rocking art ecommerce, Mark is a social media pro, using Facebook, Instagram and personal monthly newsletters to keep customers feeling a part of the gallery community and keeping them up to date on the latest arrivals.
In the spirit of inclusivity, The Harbour Gallery makes buying original art as accessible as possible, by offering staged payments and ‘contribution buying’. Perfect for a wedding, big birthday or retirement celebration, your chosen artwork is secured via a deposit and then you can invite a wider group to make contributions.
Completing the cycle, the gallery’s sister business ArtRehome is a pioneering website that helps owners safely sell-on pieces of art they have fallen out of love with or inherited but don’t like. And if that wasn’t enough, plans are afoot for another, innovative digital art venture, launching in 2018. So watch this space.
The Harbour Gallery, 8a The Quay, Portscatho