Lockton are lucky to have some very passionate associates, who live and breathe their specialist subjects. Liam Copping works as a fine art specialist and he has written this excellent piece on why art is such an important part of his life. He explains below what motivates him.

“Art is one of my main passions in life.  

My degree is in Fine Art Painting and in my spare time I draw, sketch and paint whenever I can. Many of the books I possess are about art and artists; it is, I think, an essential part of human existence and something I am always eager to talk about without ego.

The below small article is simply my own view on why we buy art and is by no means a comprehensive thesis on the subject. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.''

Liam is one of many of our people who has a genuine passion and interest in the things that matter to our clients. His knowledge of both what drives our clients and how best to protect their passion assets is just one example of how, at Lockton, we're different.

While there are many reasons why people buy art, each of them has a deeply personal foundation which makes it hard to explain a buyer's motivation in simple terms.

With this in mind, I will provide my personal view as to why people buy art.

To quote Jerry Saltz: “Art is for anyone.” Not only is this true of the typical and traditional art forms we are used to seeing in a gallery, but it also encompasses everything from fashion and architecture to the car you drive and the phone or laptop you are reading this article on. Aesthetics are key and are certainly a driving force in making everyday life either more enlightening or more bearable dependent on your particular outlook.

As we grow up, one of the first things we do as individuals is try to understand the world around us. Every child has a natural curiosity and instinctive desire to create, which helps them comprehend what they see, hear or feel. A few keep that creativity going into adulthood. 

How they react to or feel about the environment they are in is the main driving force for many artists. For example, Vincent van Gogh described his attempt to capture a scene at dusk in a letter to his brother Theo in September 1882:

“...to retain the light as well as the glow, the depth of that rich colour, for there is no carpet imaginable as splendid as that deep brownish-red in the glow of an autumn evening sun, however toned down by the trees…”

Vincent Van Gogh. 'Edge of a Wood' c.1882

What do you feel when you see a piece of art? Happiness? Sadness? Nostalgia? It's hard to limit those feelings to just one word.

One of my favourite paintings, which I always visit whenever I am at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, is 'February Fill Dyke' (c.1881) by Benjamin Williams Leader. Before I knew the history of the painting it always reminded me of walking in the countryside near a typical Cotswold village on a cool, crisp Sunday evening in November, with the smell of home fires in the air and perhaps a nice pub to enjoy a drink and a warm meal nearby. This is personal to me of course, but that's the point. My own observations and recollections conjure up these feelings of warmth, nostalgia and familiarity.

Benjamin Williams Leader 'February Fill Dyke'

As it happens, my impressions of the painting weren't that far from the truth. It's actually a scene of a November evening after rain, and the title is taken from an old country rhyme.

However, I cannot accurately describe why I feel uplifted every time I see a painting by Howard Hodgkin, the well-known abstract artist. I simply become lost in the painting itself despite it not conjuring any traditional picturesque images or reminding me of anything from my own life. Perhaps it's the colour or maybe it's the broad brushstrokes that playfully and deliberately go over the canvas and frame in one stroke? While I don't really know, what I do understand is that I can't help but stare at his art and feel better for it.

Howard Hodgkin.' Gardening' oil on canvas.

Art is there to provoke an emotional response, but it can also act as a form of therapy. It can guide us, shock us, or simply remind us to take a breath and think.

I think the philosopher Alain de Botton expresses it best in his book 'Art as Therapy' when describing the reaction to landscapes of London by James Abbott McNeill Whistler.

''...the experience of seeing the fog was not considered interesting or exciting until an artist raised its status through his talent…''

Nocturne: Blue and Gold - Old Battersea Bridge

So, returning to the question of why we buy art, for many people it's because of art's therapeutic qualities and its power to nurture and take us through the hard times, while also reminding us of a part of ourselves we have perhaps forgotten.

We buy art to fill a space, figuratively and literally. Whether it is to suit a theme in home decor or to make a statement, it is almost always personal and a reflection of a feeling or an individual's personality, or both.

It is also true that collectors buy specific pieces to protect them for future generations as well as for investment purposes. Many owners and collectors buy anonymously and lend to galleries so that others can enjoy the artwork too.

We permeate our thoughts through art and art in turn permeates through us. This is precious to us as individuals and therefore it should be protected and cherished.  

I consider myself very fortunate. I work for Lockton, where we understand why people collect art and we are as passionate about protecting art collections as our clients are. We provide the most effective cover at a cost that suits our clients' needs. If you would like advice about insurance, please get in touch with our team. We would be delighted to talk to you.