"The First" Gallery Southampton UK
"The First" Gallery

The CornerShop 
Picture Framing Out of the Ordinary 
"The First" Gallery 1 Burnham Chase Bitterne Southampton SO18 5DG 
Please ring up before you turn up — 023 8046 2723 
N.B. Previous premises at Bishop's Waltham have now been closed. Negotiations are ongoing to secure other workshop space in the town, and new details will appear here, when certain. I'm still serving clients in BW, on a visit-as-necessary basis. If you've been ringing the old 01489 number and getting an answerphone, or no reply, please use this Southampton one for the time being. Thanks 
What's on Offer 
If it holds treasured memories for you, even a photo may be irreplaceable. Here, everything, from a postcard to a Rembrandt, is treated with care and respect, all as part of the service. If you really can’t run to properly framing an item that is unquestionably worth preserving, you would be recommended, out of consideration for your possessions, to take it away and save up to have the job correctly done, rather than frame it inadequately, which could cause it to deteriorate. This concern was born out of a love of art (not because it was a “rapid-growth market-sector” in the 1980s... ) so this is not part of some underhand long-term sales-gimmick: it’s genuine, old-fashioned care!  
You’re assured best-quality work, completion by deadlines, and your overall satisfaction. Getting things absolutely right is second nature (“that’ll do” is not good enough for The CornerShop).  
Matching up wood-grain patterns at the corners; aligning knots (if they prove unavoidable) to a picture’s vanishing-points; using colouring-techniques similar to those of the artist; echoing an image’s compositional elements in the mount-textures, or in the sectional shape of a moulding: these are the “meat and drink” of The CornerShop’s everyday ideas. Such subtle points make the surround an inseparable part of the whole, so natural that you can ignore it and get on with enjoying your picture. 
By welcoming the unusual, problematic, or special-to-you, The CornerShop has experienced a large range of work that most framers never see. So-called “non-standard” processes, like displaying fabrics, are par for the course (makes you wonder why people feel the need to ask if The CornerShop deals with them — this is a framer’s, right??) Much greater-than-normal knowledge of conservation-techniques and -issues, means you can have confidence in The CornerShop’s advice in this field. 

Paul Clarke’s CV 
  • 1977 – 78 Foundation course at Winchester School of Art (now University of Southampton). 
  • 1978 – 81 Honours Degree in Graphic Design, specialising in Photography, at Exeter College of Art and Design (now University of the South West). 
  • 1982 Framing course at West Dean College. First workshop, at St. John's, Portsmouth. 
  • 1983 Set up as AAA Framing under Enterprise Allowance Scheme. Moved to Victory Business Centre, Portsmouth. 
  • 1984 First major exhibition (paintings by Eric Meadus (1931 – 70)) gave full reign to develop style of ‘sympathetic’ hand-applied colouring (echoing the artist's method of using colour), then an almost unheard-of concept, even now rarely seen. Second course at West Dean (frame-restoration). 
  • 1986 Major commission, secured against tenders from top London framers: a restored English Civil War banner, belonging to a church on Box Hill, Surrey. First of extended series of articles for The Artist magazine, published all over the English-speaking world. Long project, refurbishing 23 frames for H. M. S. Dryad, the Royal Naval Officers’ Training School at Southwick, near Portsmouth. 
  • 1987 Framing of, and publicity design for, Two Memorable Men (an exhibition teaming L. S. Lowry (1887 – 1976) with photographer Crispin Eurich (1936 – 76)) at “The First” Gallery, which later toured all over Great Britain. Style of presentation (particularly for the photographs) was much remarked on by curators at tour venues. 
  • 1988 In London: work for the Saatchi Collection; the London Lighthouse Project; City of London (Harold Samuel Collection); the Anthony Caro Studio; as well as for many leading – and more obscure – artists. 
  • 1989 Left London to follow up other framing contacts, operating from “The First” Gallery. Framed Hampshire Maps exhibition for Hampshire County Council Museums Service, which toured its local circuit of six museums. 
  • 1991 Set up as The CornerShop in Woolston, Southampton. Framing for The Animated Eye, Peter Markey's touring exhibition, which had rapturous reception countrywide. One review even singled out the frames, assuming them to have been coloured by the artist himself! On the road until 1999, it visited over 30 venues and attracted much favourable comment. 
  • 1994 Framed all 89 works, in just five weeks (!), for John Hansard Gallery exhibition Photo-Reclamation, later seen in Glasgow, Russia, and Japan. This needed no little imagination: instructions were often rather vague written notes from the Russian artists involved, such as requesting an appearance like "the look of supermarket shopping baskets". Back then, one couldn't simply Google "Moscow shopping basket" to get information!!! 
  • 1995 Moved home / workshop to Bishop's Waltham, Hants. Framing and publicity design for Architect at Leisure, “The First” Gallery's third national touring exhibition (of private work by Arthur Mattinson, who designed Blackpool Tower), shown at eight venues. 
  • 1997 Made and designed re-vamped security-crating for The Animated Eye. Moved within BW to The Old Granary, a multiple-occupancy craft venue. 
  • 1998 Framing and publicity design for Passage from India by Jacqueline Mair (seen across England). 
  • 2000 20 photographs by Crispin Eurich, framed for the new Milestones “Living History” Museum, Basingstoke. 
  • 2002 – 07 Tutoring framing courses at ACE (the Adult Education arm of Peter Symonds College), Winchester. 
  • 2004 7307 Stage 1 Teaching course. 
  • 2005 on Tutoring weekend and evening framing classes at Barton Peveril College, Eastleigh. 
  • 2010 Set up semi-permanent mini-workshop space back at “The First” Gallery, pending securing new premises in Bishop's Waltham. 
 Other Services 
In addition to mounting and framing, Paul Clarke also undertakes:  
  • “resuscitation” of damaged frames, so called to distinguish it from “restoration” (= repair using original materials) 
    or “renovation” (= cleaning to look new). Also, similar remedial work on other objects in typical framing media: wood, compo, etc.; and repairs / retouches to an array of other items (e.g. boxes, plaques) and / or in other materials (e.g. china, some stone, etc.)  
  • tuition, at a local F. E. College, or at your premises  
  • conservation of most items (such highly skilled work is sub-contracted out to long-established practitioners)  
  • small display-plinths, boxes, glass-cases, etc. 
  • crating for transport, multi-venue exhibitions, or storage 
  • careful transit and / or packing for works of art, antiques, or anything of sentimental value: I'll even help you house-move your irreplaceable items special moulding-runs, short or long (with advice on their suitability)  
  • advice on installation, site-specific displays and security-framing 
The First” Gallery 
A frequently-changing range of artworks framed by Paul Clarke can be seen, especially between exhibitions, demonstrating his own approach to, and choice of, presentation. To view, usually by appointment, but sometimes during exhibition hours (click for current programme), ring 023 8046 2723 

Other Satisfied Customers 
  • Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth 
  • Cross-Channel Photographic Mission, Kent (now Photoworks) 
  • the late Richard Eurich (1903 – 92) 
  • Hampshire County Council Arts Office 
  • Southampton University Hospitals N. H. S. Trust 
  • Hampshire County Council Museums Service 
  • John Hansard Gallery, University of Southampton 
  • Royal Navy Trophy Centre, Portsmouth 
    (responsible for the Navy's works of art throughout the UK) 
  • and numerous private individuals as far afield as London, Mid-Wales, Caithness and the Isle of Mull 
Paul may be contacted at the Gallery on 023 8046 2723 
or see the "The First" Gallery contact page
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