John Baillie was a New Zealand artist, who moved to London in 1897. In 1901, the artist Frances Hodgkins noted that he was an art dealer in Bayswater, and her work was included in a show at his gallery the following year (Platts). In these early years, the gallery seems to have been an informal exhibition space. A review in the Times noted “Mr. Baillie’s gallery in Prince’s-terrace, Bayswater… is just a private house, where from time to time small and interesting shows are held.” (“Art Exhibitions,” Times, 14 March 1904, 3) A little earlier that same year, a critic for the Academy and Literature reviewed a show of Oscar Eckhardt’s work at the gallery and commented “Whilst on the subject of Mr. Baillie’s gallery, I look forward to the day when this man of taste shall migrate to regions within the hail of Piccadilly Circus, for the old dealers are sadly hide bound; and a fresh and discriminating view like his might and should give us a Baillie Gallery within easy reach of Piccadilly. The day might then come when a Royal Academician is ashamed to ask ‘Who was Beardsley?’” (“Art Notes,” Academy and Literature, 20 February 1904, 202). Despite the unorthodox setting, the Baillie Gallery seems to have had an ambitious program and to have attracted serious critical attention. Indeed, The Year’s Art’s annual retrospective listing of exhibitions in London includes a Baillie Gallery at 1 Princes Terrace, Hereford Road holding exhibitions in 1903, 1904, and 1905, a sign of the gallery’s serious stature.
In The Year’s Art 1907’s review of “other London Exhibitions open in 1906,” the Baillie Gallery is listed at 54 Baker Street, suggesting that the business had moved premises either late in 1905 or in 1906 (134). In mid-1908, Baillie moved again, this time to 13 Bruton Street, the former home of the Bruton Gallery [link AS 523]. (The Year’s Art 1909, 139). In 1912, Baillie sent a “representative collection of modern British” paintings from London to New Zealand, so that the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts “could make a selection suitable for New Zealand Galleries.” (“Art Treasures for New Zealand,” Otautau Standard and Wallace County Chronicle, 19 March 1912, 7.) The latest advertisement for the gallery that I have found appeared in The Year’s Art 1916, though some sources suggest Baillie returned to New Zealand as early as 1914 (Platts). Baillie added the name “Gardiner” to his dealer listing in The Year’s Art 1912 perhaps indicating he had taken on a partner (428).
Address: 54 Baker St
Start Date: by 1906
End Date: 1907
1 Princes Terrace, Hereford Road (by 1903-1905)
13 Bruton St (1908 - at least 1914)
Dealer: John Baillie (1866?-1926)
Colonial Art Exhibition (October 1902) (Cited by Pamela Gerrish Nunn, “Some Australasian Artists in London, 1900-1914,” in Fletcher and Helmreich, eds. The Rise of the Modern Art Market in London, p. 283).
George Wilson: 1848-1890 (1903) (Exh. cat. Courtauld Institute of Art, London) (List of works exhibited see: Appendix 3 in Robin J. H. Fanshawe, The Lost Pre-Raphaelite: George Wilson. Castle Park Publishing, 2007.
Paintings and drawings by the late Simeon Solomon (9 December 1905-13 January 1906) (Exh. cat. at the Courtauld Institute of Art, London) [List of works exhibited: http://www.simeonsolomon.com/baillie-gallery.html]
Drawings by Aubrey Beardsley (August and September 1909) (Exh. cat. at Harvard University)
Ancient Chinese Paintings and Porcelain (August and September 1910) (Exh. cat. at Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)
For more exhibitions, see: “Exhibitions associated with: John Baillie Gallery” http://www.exhibitionculture.arts.gla.ac.uk/gall_exhlist.php?gid=797]
Exhibition Culture in London 1878-1908, University of Glasgow
National Art Library, London (1903-14)
Courtauld Institute of Art, London
Harvard University Libraries, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Fletcher, Pamela and Anne Helmreich. “Selected galleries, dealers and exhibition spaces in London, 1850-1939.” In The Rise of the Modern Art Market in London, 1850-1939. Eds. Pamela Fletcher and Anne Helmreich. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2011. 295.
Platts, Una. Nineteenth Century New Zealand Artists: A Guide and Handbook, Christchurch: Avon Fine Prints, 1980. Accessed via New Zealand Electronic Texts Centre, Victoria University of Wellington Library [nzetc.victoria.ac.nz] 10 July 2012.
Unless otherwise noted, the documentation of a gallery’s start and end dates at a location is drawn from listings in The Year’s Art.