Piano Nobile

Piano Nobile is a commercial art gallery in London, England, specialising in twentieth-century British art.[1] It was established by Dr Robert Travers at premises in Richmond in 1985.[2] In 2000, the gallery moved to its current address at 129 Portland Road, London. In 2019, an additional gallery space was acquired at 96 Portland Road.[3] Between 2008 and 2019, the gallery also had an exhibition space at Kings Place in King’s Cross.

Commercial art gallery in London
Piano Nobile’s gallery at 96 Portland Road, London.

The gallery is a member of the Society of London Art Dealers.[4]

Piano Nobile is the registered company name of Robert Travers (Works of Art) Ltd..[5] The company has also previously traded as Piano Nobile Fine Paintings.[6]

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The Famous Women Dinner Service by Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant on display at Piano Nobile in 2018.

Piano Nobile has sold and loaned works to public collections in the UK and abroad. In 2018, Charleston Farmhouse purchased from Piano Nobile the Famous Women Dinner Service by Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant.[7] The service was commissioned by Kenneth Clark, late director of the National Gallery and presenter of the 1969 television series Civilisation. Depicting famous women from history and contemporary life, the set includes portraits of queens, writers, performers, and other known figures including two plates featuring the artists themselves.

Re-discovery of the plates received interest from the academic community. The art historian Hana Leaper published an article about the dinner service in British Art Studies, the online journal of the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art.[8] In May 2018, the gallery’s director Dr Robert Travers spoke about the plates on BBC Radio 4’s programme Front Row with novelist Ali Smith and Charleston curator Darren Clarke.[9] The acquisition of the dinner service was funded by grants from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund and “donations from a circle remarkable women”.[10][11]

In 2012, the National Gallery of Ireland (NGI) acquired from Piano Nobile Flanders Fields (1962) by William Crozier.[12] (Piano Nobile represents work from the Crozier Estate up to 1979.) This painting was one of 150 works which the NGI acquired during an extended closure between 2011 and 2017, when the gallery underwent an extensive refurbishment.[13] In 2018, the National Gallery of Ireland also purchased thirty-five works on paper by Crozier.[14]

Piano Nobile regularly loans works to museum exhibitions. In 2018, Tate Britain’s All Too Human exhibition included Walter Sickert’s painting The Studio: The Painting of a Nude, loaned by Piano Nobile.[15] In 2018, a BP Spotlight display at Tate Britain about Mark Gertler included The Pond, Garsington (1916), the loan of which was facilitated by Piano Nobile.[16] Also in 2018, the touring exhibition Virginia Woolf: An Exhibition Inspired by her Writings included a work by Gluck, Portrait of Miss E.M. Craig, which was loaned through Piano Nobile.[17] In 2019, the National Gallery of Modern Art’s exhibition Cut and Paste included Duncan Grant’s Still Life with Fruit and Coffee-pot (1916) and Vanessa Bell’s collage portrait of Molly MacCarthy (1914), both of which were loaned through Piano Nobile.[18]

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