We are delighted to launch our next interview in the series with the inspirational Claire Richards, who set out to follow her passion for art to become a dealer. Not only has Claire worked for some of the worlds most prestigious galleries and auction houses, but she has taken the enormous step to set up Manning Fine Art. In a hugely competitive industry, this is an even greater achievement which has been accomplished with dedication, passion and a lot of hard work. To find out more, read the full interview below.
How did you get into the art world?
After reading Art History at Christie’s Education and the University of Glasgow where I specialised in topographical art, architectural drawings and technical art history. I worked at the Fleming Collection, Bonhams, Serpentine Gallery and the University of the Arts. In 2014 it was a delight to use my knowledge and sleuthing skills to start Manning Fine Art, a business that offers historically important and uniquely interesting art works for sale.
Have you always loved art and where did the interest spark from?
I spent much of my childhood in Australia, whilst my friends were learning to surf I spent my time reading art history books on the Pre-Raphaelites and Gothic architecture. This was most certainly encouraged by my aunt in London, she sent arty gifts every birthday and Christmas. Since I moved to London for University the two of us regularly go on art pilgrimages across the city.
Tell us a bit about your job…
As a project manager I worked on a range of activities from, approving the purchase of artworks, cataloguing new stock, updating the website and selling platforms, researching artworks and organising exhibitions for art fairs.
What has been the most challenging aspect to your job so far?
Two years ago a challenge and delight was preparing over 30 drawings by Rosemary and Clifford Ellis for exhibition. The drawings needed to be catalogued and prepared for framing. It’s a wonderful feeling to give a drawing or artwork a name and an identity.
What could you not live without in your professional life?
My Nu Force wireless earphones are a lifesaver when working in a collaborative agile working space.
Favourite accessory to carry around day to day?
Besides my notebook and pen. Day to Day I must have a Sweaty Betty Spiral Hair Toggle to hand, when that comes out things work gets serious.
Why do you use a notebook over digital notebook options?
I am a finisher and a finisher likes a good to do list, I think it’s the satisfaction of physically crossing things out. My notebooks are mosaics of all sorts of lists; exhibitions to visit, artists to look up, sales to search, framing measurements, art ‘shopping’ lists as well as tonight’s dinner shopping list.
Which is your favourite Rollo London product?
The Hardy Collection - Eliot in Burgundy Red - A6
My notebooks and purse are always bright colours so I can find them easily in the cavernous handbag. I love the elasticated band as well so cards and papers can be tucked in my notebook and not flutter about.
Tell us what you enjoy outside of work life?
I love to cook and read recipe books like they are bestselling novels. Each time I cook a recipe, I note down the date I cooked it and annotate the recipe with my thoughts.
How are you coping with COVID19 isolation and what have you been doing to keep busy?
Staying home watching Antiques Roadshow, talking with friends, doing home workouts.
For more information about Claire visit: www.manningfineart.co.uk or follow @manningfineart and @clairetrichards