THE GOOD SHOPPER
Art Lovers Kensington
1. Saatchi Gallery
Contemporary art fans should make Charles Saatchi’s gallery on the King’s Road their first port of call. Housed in an attractive Grade II listed building and with free entry, the gallery’s shows range from Jeff Koons retrospectives to exhibitions exploring the history of the selfie. The shop is always worth a browse: T-shirts, posters and even solar-powered models of Einstein can all be found here, but you can also pick up excellent artist materials and exclusive fashion pieces, often that tie into the exhibition on show at the time, such as swim shorts designed by Vilebrequin especially for the Rolling Stones’ first international exhibition, Exhibitionism. There’s also a lively bar and restaurant, Mess, should you require a pit stop.
Duke of York Square, London, SW3 4LY
+44 20 7811 3070, saatchigallery.com
If you’re a fan of art and photography books, then Taschen’s flagship store on Duke of York Square is must. The German publisher has made its name through producing spectacular, often supersized, glossy art books that can run into the hundreds, even thousands of pounds. Helmut Newton’s SUMO for example – the biggest and most expensive book of the 20th century - would set you back £13,000, while Ai Weiwei’s Art Edition goes for £10,000. There are treasures to be found at lower prices as well.
Duke of York Square, London, SW3 4LY
+44 207 881 0795, Taschen.com
3. The Medici Gallery
The Medici Gallery South Kensington, which opened in the 1930s, is believed to be the oldest greetings card specialist in London. The shop stocks over 3,000 exquisite card designs, many of which are worthy of framing, and more than 370 advent calendars. Most of the cards and prints available in the shop show works that have passed through the gallery, so consider that a quality guarantee.
The Medici Gallery, 26 Thurloe Street, South Kensington, London SW7 2LT
4. The V&A
Following a recent £1m renovation, the V&A’s shop has reopened and is bigger and better than ever, featuring a new Jewellery Pavilion and Pocket Workshop, where visitors can meet artists in residence. Along with fashion from the world’s leading designers, books, homewares, stationery and toys, you’ll be able to find custom prints inspired by the museum’s current exhibitions, such as watercolours by Constable and landscapes by Paul Nash. The new space is inspired by craftsmanship, so you’ll also find regular demonstrations that focus on a new material every quarter – starting with ceramics.
Cromwell Road, London, SW7 2RL
+44 20 7942 2000, Vam.ac.uk
5. The Serpentine Galleries
Either side of the Serpentine Lake in Kensington Gardens, the Serpentine Galleries are two of London’s most significant contemporary art institutions. Their joint boutique is small but magnificent, with a range of unique items on the shelves. Products range from skateboards by Grayson Perry to a unisex eau de toilette by Tracy Emin – you can even bring a piece of the gallery home with a roll or two of art wallpaper.
Kensington Gardens, London W2 3XA
+44 020 7402 6075, Serpentinegalleries.org
6. Walton Fine Arts
Looking to invest in something for your walls? Walton Fine Arts on Walton Street specialises in modern, contemporary, pop and street art. The gallery sells original paintings, lithographs, fine art prints and sculptures by international artists including Bacon, Banksy, Chagall, Hirst, Leger, Lichtenstein, and Picasso. And if they don’t have what you’re looking for, their experts will go out of their way to find it for you.
152 Walton Street, London, SW3 2JJ
+44 20 7581 2332, Waltonfinearts.com
7. The Japanese Gallery
The Japanese Gallery on Kensington Church Street is a gallery-cum-store offering Japanese antiques and elegant prints, along with the odd bit of weaponry. It’s one of the world’s leading specialist shops when it comes to ukiyo-e prints (woodblock prints and paintings) – think Hokusai’s The Great Wave off Wnagawa (1831). The gallery also sells jewellery, ceramics, lacquerware, masks and books on everything from astrology to samurais. Twice a year the gallery also organises an exhibition of ‘Japanese Swords of Exquisite Quality,’ – it’s one to look out for.
66D Kensington Church Street, London, W8 4BY
+44 20 7229 2934, Japanese-gallery.com
8. Green and Stone
On the iconic King’s Road, Green and Stone is a relic of Chelsea’s artistic past and one of London’s most atmospheric and charming art shops. With a mix of artist materials, beautiful sketchbooks and art-related gifts, you’ll find plenty of inspiration. Just imagine the characters who’ve frequented the shop over the years: everyone from Francis Bacon and David Hockney to Eric Clapton and HRH Prince Charles.
259 Kings Road, Chelsea, London, SW3 5EL
+44 20 7352 0837, Greenandstone.com