Abbott and Holder’s founders Robert Abbott and Eric Holder first began dealing in partnership in 1936 and for over seventy years it has been the gallery’s policy to stock pictures that are within the means of as broad a section of the population as possible. While much of their stock is priced between £100 and £5000 a £50 and under box is still kept, which is a direct descendant of the five shilling box from the 1950s.
After the Second World War Robert Abbott’s house in Barnes was used as the gallery for the rapidly increasing stock and it was at this time that Abbott and Holder’s seven-weekly Lists were first launched as a means of introducing and publicising new acquisitions. The house became popular with enthusiasts and customers were encouraged to take their time over decisions and to make as many visits as they needed to get to know the staff and the stock, the same is true of the gallery today which is now located on Museum Street opposite the British Museum.
The partnership remained a family matter when the founder’s nephew, John Abbott, joined Eric Holder from 1971 to 1981. In 1984 Philip Athill became a partner having worked as an, assistant at the gallery after read reading art history at the University of East Anglia. On the retirement of John Abbott in 2001 Abbott and Holder became a limited company and Philip Athill is now the gallery’s Managing Director.
Today over 1,000 pictures are on view at the gallery, all marked and priced and while it is necessary to ring the door bell, once admitted and the layout briefly explained, visitors are left to explore at will and the staff are on hand to answer any questions.