Tuesday, April 27, 2021

How to sell a painting to a Prime Minister

I admire Mary Casserley. Not only has she developed a style of painting the Chilterns which echoes that of old fashioned British Rail posters. She's also sold her painting of Chequers to Boris Johnson, the UK Prime Minister!

So how did she do it?

About the Painting of Chequers and the Johnson family

Chequers Court by Mary Casserley

The painting bought by Boris Johnson shows an image of Chequers Court - the Prime Ministers's official country house at the foot of the Chiltern Hills halfway halfway between Princes Risborough and Wendover in Buckinghamshire.

Besides a view of the house and garden, the image includes very simplified images of Boris walking the dog Dilyn near to his fiancĂ©e Carrie and their baby son Wilfred having a picnic on the lawn.  

I think her talent is to introduce very simplified figures into landscapes without them dominating. The lack of detail helps - as detail always draws the eye.

Mary achieved the sale by:
  • printing cards of the painting using a local press
  • sending one to the PM with a covering note
  • who then enquired via a handwritten letter whether he might buy the painting
  • so she sold it to him for her normal commission price
  • and the payment was made using PayPal! (Organised by his personal assistant!)

About Mary Casserley

Mary Casserley paints images of the Chilterns using gouache in bright uplifting colours and flat and simplified style employed in the 1930s by those creating images for railway posters which could then be printed easily.

My work revisits a classic era of Railway poster design, recreated in the vibrant tones of 1930's travel art.
Having been born and bred in Berkhamsted, she belongs to a railway family - which goes some way to explaining her interest in the railway poster style.

I personally always think of posters as "happy images" - either because of the subject or the aesthetic and often both. They're ideal for the times we're in at the moment.

Her vivid images focus on local high streets, local landscapes, well loved pubs, railway scenes and significant buildings in her area. She then gets her paintings printed, using a local press, as A5 cards, and A4 and A3 prints via her website - with all financial transactions then being conducted securely via Paypal.

I'd also add that Mary also impresses because she has a "giving back" page on her website which illustrates how she uses her images - with her permission of course - to be used for various local charitable ventures. 

The moral of the story is that there are any number of ways of selling art - and painting first and then showing people what you've done afterwards is very definitely one of them.

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