'I tell my clients that the best time to invest is when you love something': How to buy the right art for your Gloucestershire home

Specialist art consultant Louisa Warfield advises on how to purchase beautiful and bespoke art for your Gloucestershire home - including the benefits of hiring someone with a keen eye to make the process that much smoother.

By Zoe Gater  |  Published
If you're looking to bring joy to your walls with inspiring artworks, an art consultant could help you find your perfect match.
If you're looking to bring joy to your walls with inspiring artworks, an art consultant could help you find your perfect match.

Whether you need help creating a clearly defined vision for your home, or simply don't have the time to seek out your dream artwork, an art consultant can help you find great deals, advise on what will best suit your space, and assist in making the process of buying art hassle free.  

Louisa Warfield, specialist art consultant, explains the benefits of working with an art advisor, and how artwork can bring your Gloucestershire home to life. 

About the expert - Louisa Warfield

Louisa Warfield has been an art consultant for over 15 years, starting from the bottom and working her way to the top. She originally studied art history at the V&A Museum before taking on a role at a gallery in London, which is when she started to collect art herself. 

Louisa eventually set up an online gallery with a friend, but felt constrained in only having a small selection of artists to showcase. She now has her own art consultancy business, access to a large portfolio of art and loves the independence of being able to suggest any artist for a client's space.

What is the role of an art consultant and what expertise can you offer a client?

The role of an art consultant is to provide independent advice on all things concerning art in a home or an office. There are two parts to my job. 

The first part is that I can suggest where to hang your work in your home, how to hang it as beautifully as possible, and what to edit using your existing works or collection. This can be quite fun - we can get artworks re-framed or create a gallery wall. Sometimes I am just brought in to broker peace, usually by the wife, to help tell the husband that his framed rugby shirts are not allowed to go in the living room! 

The second part of my job as an art advisor is that I can also advise on what art to buy for a home or office (whether that is a painting, print, sculpture or objet d'art). Most clients want something decorative and beautiful to live with, but others want to start collecting work or want to understand about art as an investment, and I can advise at both ends of the spectrum.

I look at hundreds of artworks a week. It's my absolute love and passion and I guess the expertise that I can offer is that I really know my stuff.

What are some of the benefits of hiring an art consultant?

You get their eye and knowledgeable perspective. For example, some artists just churn out the same work year after year and because I've been doing it for over 15 years, I know which artists are doing that and can steer you away from them and hopefully prevent you from making a mistake.

Because I now have a large group of clients, I can get access to work that you might not be able to get as an individual. Some of the galleries give me really good access to art and this means I can get previews and offers on things when they first get released, then pass those on to clients.

I think it's like hiring any expert - you're tapping into knowledge that you don't have time to accrue yourself. I don't know how many hours I've done in this world, but you'd have to be really going some to match my expertise hour for hour, so I save you time.

Why should someone incorporate art into their living space?

Obviously I'm completely biased, but putting art into your living space gives it joy, texture, tone, a focal point. It's the art that makes the space.

What are some of the key things to consider about your space before investing in a new piece of art?

There are lots of things to consider; how much direct sunlight you get, how much reflection from windows the piece is likely to get, and how you're going to get the piece of work into the space is a key consideration with large work. 

For my home, I don't take the approach that I take with my clients because I'm out looking at art all the time. I just buy things that I love and squeeze them into my home retrospectively, whereas with clients, we select a wall, or however many walls, and we focus on choosing work for that specific size.

When is the best time to invest?

I take investing in art with a small pinch of salt, because the art world can be a very fickle place. I tell my clients that the best time to invest is when you love something - if you love it, it doesn't tend to matter what its value is.

Never buy anything in investment art terms that you don't love. Saying all that, I do have a loyal bunch of clients that have done very well with some of the things we have selected over the years. But I don't like to nail my colours to the mast in terms of investment returned - I prefer to think of it in terms of joy returned.

Can you work to a variety of budgets?

In terms of consultations they have one price - a home consultation or 10 ideas for a space both cost £150 plus VAT. Lots of work is now done remotely and I have clients all over the country thanks to WhatsApp and Zoom calls! 

In terms of finding artwork for a space, I ask that you have a budget of at least £3,000. If you do not have this budget (and I really appreciate that not everyone does) then I suggest you book a home consultation and I can point you in the right direction to find more cost effective art solutions for your project. 

What is your favourite piece of art that you have found for a client?

Very hard to say - it's like being asked to choose a favourite child! But if I was pushed it would probably have to be finding an Alison Watts piece for a client. I'd just done a proposal on her work for another client, so I knew the measurements of her paintings absolutely perfectly. I looked at the wall of this particular client and thought, 'Oh my Lord, that is the perfect artwork for that space'. It looked like it was commissioned for the space, it just fitted in every sense and is sublimely beautiful in the room. 

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