Uncovering some great art with a fine eye

David Gunning, of Todmorden Fine Art, with York Minster, a painting by Ian Norris
David Gunning, of Todmorden Fine Art, with York Minster, a painting by Ian Norris

David Gunning, proprietor of Todmorden Fine Art, in Water Street, has, over the last 30 years, established a national reputation for his ability to unearth unjustly neglected artists of outstanding merit and for bringing their work to public attention.

His expert opinion is regularly sought by collectors, curators, auctioneers and fellow gallery owners, including those in exclusive Mayfair locations.

In 2000, he came across the work of Cheshire painter, William Ralph Turner, then 80, who had been largely forgotten. He became his sole agent for the next ten years until, at the age of 90, Turner had to give up painting, having contracted Parkinson’s Disease. David sold these paintings for just a few hundred pounds, but now these same paintings are fetching anything between £1,500 and £18,000. All together David sold between 3,500 and 4,500 pictures by Turner.

Many of the other artists whose fortunes he has transformed had worked for decades without creating any impact on the art market before being spotted by David but he is equally adept at identifying younger emerging artists of genuine talent.

His gallery in Todmorden was one of the first to show the work of locally born and bred painter, Olivia Pilling, and her vibrant coloured paintings are now becoming increasingly collected throughout the north west. Her most recent paintings include some based on scenes in and around Todmorden Market.

A relatively recent addition to the stable of artists at Todmorden Fine Art is rising star, Lancashire artist Ian Norris and David is delighted to have acquired a substantial number of Ian`s paintings for sale.

Ian’s powerful works have already been the subject of two virtual sell-out exhibitions in a well-regarded Cumbrian gallery and he has been approached by a leading West End gallery with a view to a one-man show in 2016 after selling work at their mixed Christmas show. Ian said: “I am delighted to have my work in David’s gallery. He is someone I really admire, his enthusiasm and depth of knowledge is unique. He has a wonderful eye for quality.”

In David Gunning’s view “Ian Norris is one of the most talented artists working in the North West of England, and he is enjoying an ever-growing reputation. With his forthcoming London Exhibition, his work is certain to gain for him a greater number of collectors nation-wide. He is one of the most sought-after artists at Todmorden Fine Art, and his pictures are regularly bought by collectors in London, and down South. He has a great future ahead of him.”