The Art Agency brings contemporary affordable art to Esher
30th November 2011
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Earlier this year, Emma Riley and Alison Ramsay opened the doors of The Art Agency showcasing contemporary art for retail at affordable prices. Both business partners are mumpreneurs who met at antenatal classes in Claygate and found they had a shared interest in attending art exhibitions.

Emma is married to thriller novelist, Felix Riley, whose latest book entitled The Set-Up reveals an engaging, witty style of writing! After having her two girls, Emma decided she didn’t want to return to her job as a Project Manager at She had always loved art, having studied History of Art at Nottingham University and wanted to spend more time reconnecting with her passion for it. Similarly, after having her two children, Alison decided she preferred self-employment over returning to work as an HR Manager. She had trained in Interior Design and amongst other achievements, designed a room set at the House and Garden Show at Olympia.

Two years ago, they decided to go into partnership and set up their business. They have been enjoying the camaraderie, sharing the risks and rewards and the flexibility that self-employment gives them to work around their young children. Emma explains that it’s a big achievement and very gratifying to take control of your own destiny and make your own business work.

Their first foray into the art world was to take their pop-up galleries to display their favourite pieces at a variety of art shows, including in Teddington, the Cotswolds and at the Brighton Arts Fair. Over a 2 year period, they selected over 20 artists and found they could rely on their gut instinct, as what they liked, tended to sell. This gave them the courage to open up The Art Agency on Esher High Street. 

Currently, Emma and Alison have exclusive rights to represent Liz Hauck who paints highly intriguing, abstract paintings in oil on canvas, with titles such as 'Blame it on the Moon' - Katie Melua, and 'Wild Horses' - Rolling Stones. They are beautiful pieces, well worth a visit. Liz Hauck will be donating all of the proceeds from her paintings to the Eve Appeal for gynaecological cancer research. For her fortieth birthday, Emma was gifted a Nick Andrew painting by friends and family who live in Claygate. The artist lives in a watermill in Wiltshire and his deeply colourful pieces are inspired by the countryside around his home.

Many of their selected artists have very interesting stories to relate. Why not pop into one of The Art Agency’s upcoming Drinks Evenings and strike up a conversation with an established artist?

© thebestofesher, 2011

Below from left to right: Alison Ramsay and Emma Riley 

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Ruby I

Member since: 9th July 2012

I run thebestof Esher and I'm passionate about local businesses and charities that provide a valuable service to the local community. If you know any good news stories or you'd like to write for us, contact...

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