Leslie Pratt founded Cricket Fine Art in 1996 to assemble and represent a selection of gifted contemporary artists and introduce their work to a wider audience.
With a degree in Fine Art and many years working in London galleries, Leslie had garnered considerable acumen in recognising new talent and felt deeply about helping to sustain and promote it. Nevertheless, at that time, as a mother of three young children, it was convenient (necessary!) for Leslie’s first ‘gallery’ to be at home. While this was quite disruptive during exhibitions (her husband grumbled that it was like moving house three times a year), Leslie almost unwittingly discovered that hanging art at home had a strong marketing advantage.
Clients were able to view paintings in situ and, seeing fine art hanging over an abandoned coffee cup or the odd half chewed sneaker — the pervasive art of domestic life — seemed to make visitors immediately at ease with the paintings and able imaginatively to transmit them to their own houses. Consequently, this feeling of seeing art hang “at home” is a concept rooted in the design of her galleries, and each has the welcoming feeling of a furnished house rather than the more traditional spare, minimalistc design of most galleries.
As her portfolio of artists grew and her sales moved beyond a predominantly local client base, Leslie knew that she must find a more central venue for both artists and buyers. Accordingly, in 2003, she opened her first gallery at 13 Langton Street and, in this intimate, charming space, held a number of successful mixed and solo shows, including exhibitions of such increasingly successful artists as Chloe Lamb, Christine Seifert and Jeffrey Pratt. As her artists gained in stature and her business flourished, Leslie decided to move to a larger space and, in the Spring of 2010, opened her new gallery at 2 Park Walk.
Leslie sells art from the gallery as well as from her well constructed and constantly updated website. In her inviting gallery, the vibrant colourful paintings glow from the soft-toned walls and the smells of sea grass and highly polished furniture do make one feel immediately at home (albeit in a particularly tidy one!). People drop in constantly and linger unselfconsciously among the art, which is just as she would have it, commenting ”that’s where paintings ultimately rest — the more it feels like home, the better.” Leslie’s long represented artists continue to gather ever larger followings and her list of represented artists also continues to grow. She now regularly sells globally and ships works all over the world.
From a young mother determined to nurture artists and inspire others to “bring art home”, Leslie has built a successful business that rewards both artist and client; to the first she gives a voice and to the second she gives a love of living with art.