How to buy contemporary art online

How to buy contemporary art online

Our advice is if you love it and it's in your price range, buy it. 

However, that's not quite all there is to it - here are some more objective things to consider when selecting a piece.

Basic questions

  • How much are you willing to spend?
  • Why are you looking to buy? Is it a gift or for your home?
  • Where are you planning to display it?
  • Does it make you feel good?
  • Can you not imagine going without it?

Getting started

You can get a good feel of the work you like by browsing and searching the catalogue:

If you need help with your search, please do contact us at

Buying original art vs. prints

Some artists only offer original pieces of work, while others - especially those who work entirely digitally - produce limited and unlimited edition prints. The value of the piece is often determined by the number of copies available.

Original art

These are the original drawings or paintings by the illustrator and there is generally only ever one of each. These may also have been used in another context – for example the piece 'Can you remember what happened before that?' by David McPhail was originally created for the Children's book 'Tell Me the Day Backwards' by Albert Lamb. 

Limited edition screenprints

Screenprints are very high-quality prints produced in limited quanitites, usually 10-100. Each piece will be individually signed and numbered by the artist, however it's not true that lower edition numbers are more valuable than higher ones.

Giclee prints

Giclee prints are high quality digital prints and can be available in limited or unlimited editions, depending on the artist and the piece in question. 


You should always make sure a piece of art is signed and dated - and numbered if it's part of a limited edition.

Building a collection 

You may find you're interested in a particular illustrator and decide you'd like to build a collection of their work. Or you might want to broaden your collection around a theme, such as animals or Children's book illustrations.

Developing a conversation with artists, galleries, illustration blogs and arts organisations is fun and will really help you to get a better understanding of contemporary illustration. You'll increase your knowledge and improve your future artwork choices. Artists and gallery owners are happy to share their knowledge, so do ask for advice and further information.

Your rights 

When buying a work of art you are still covered by the Sale of Goods Act 1979 (amended by the Sale & Supply of Goods Act 1994 and the Sale and Supply of Goods to Consumers Regulations 2002). The law provides certain implied or automatic statutory rights under this contract. The Sale of Goods Act 1979 states that goods should be:

  • Of a satisfactory quality: i.e. of a standard that a reasonable person would consider to be satisfactory; generally free from fault or defect, as well as being fit for their usual purpose, of a reasonable appearance and finish, safe and durable.
  • Fit for the purpose: i.e. goods should be fit for any specific or particular purpose made known at the time of the agreement.
  • As described: i.e. goods should correspond with any description applied to them. This could be verbally, words or pictures on a sign, packaging or an advert.

Office of Trading Standards, 2005 Buying goods Your Rights

For further information on consumer rights visit