Our cover this month, Roy Petley’s “The Bowl of Fruit” (1711/16 in. by 115/8 in.), sold for $1,348 at Bonhams’ Art & Antiques auction in Oxford, England on Sept. 9, 2015.
Born on April 3, 1951 in Lincolnshire, England, Petley was removed from his family at the age of five and placed in the Woodlands School, a home for abandoned children, where he immersed himself in painting and drawing to escape the harsh realities of his life. Exceptionally talented, Petley was the first to receive a scholarship at his school. He attended Brighton University but left after only one semester. He hitchhiked his way to Florence to study the works of Italian masters that truly inspired his plein air style—Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. While there, he made a living drawing portraits of tourists. He first gained worldwide recognition of his talent back in London; he exhibited his works on the railings of Green Park, where they caught the attention of American art dealers. He now counts the late Queen Mother and the Prince of Wales as collectors of his work.
In a true rags-to-riches story, Petley debuted the opening of his own gallery in October 2003 in the posh Mayfair neighborhood of London. He wanted to be able to give back and provide young artists a platform for starting their careers, having himself been turned away by gallery after gallery during his youth. Like Petley, clients may achieve philanthropic desires more readily by focusing on personal values as opposed to tax incentives.