Today I am featuring none other than the wonderful Curator @lizzieglendinning from @woolwichcontemporary


I am a huge fan of print as an art medium, and so was incredibly excited when Lizzie approached me to work with her as part of the WCPF this year. So thank you for the opportunity! It has been wonderful to interview Eleanor, Tanaka and Lizzie, and also produce the panel discussion on Women in Print!


This is their fifth year, with WCPF is the UK’s largest dedicated art fair for original contemporary print. 


In a full interview with Lizzie, online on SHE CURATES now, we discuss the jewels in her collection, including Tracey Emin, Flora Yuknovich and Eleanor May Watson, as well as her career, her progression and her dream artworks! 




    Lizzie, I would love to start by hearing a bit about you and your career? When did you decide to pursue a career in art? I know you have worked in so many different environments so tell us, what has been your journey to where you are now?


    I’ve always been surrounded by contemporary art, my father collected smaller pieces and was an art historian by profession. 


    I originally wanted to work in fashion, first as a designer, but I couldn’t draw the figure well and I had the most hideous uninspiring art teacher who put me off pursuing fine art. I was a good writer and took it upon myself to be ‘Fashion Editor’ of our school paper - I knew Alexandra Schulman had gone down the Art History path, and I thought if I understood how to read say, a painting, the social and historical contexts of art history (and the garments), it would help me in on this journey.  I was also organising fashion events at school and heritage exhibitions as part of my work experience when I was 15. 


    I saw ‘Fashion at Belsay’ (2004) the summer I left for university, at a magical stately home near where I am from. Designers such as Zandra Rhodes, Stella McCartney, Alexandra Queen and Paul Smith had created immersive fashion responses to Belsay’s romantically haunting, uninhabited rooms, and I knew that was what I wanted to do - I just didn’t know how to articulate it. 


    During my History of Art degree at Goldsmiths I discovered London College of Fashion was launching an MA in ‘Fashion Curation’ and that was my goal. I had the most inspiring course leaders who I still follow and admire to this day - Amy de La Haye & Judith Clarke, both leaders in their fields spanning dress history, interpretation and curatorial thought. It was an academic course that encompassed the breadth of curatorial practise and theory, with some incredible vocational experience, and it everything I learnt was transferrable in to other fields such as fine art. 


    Through both my BA and MA I worked for a really fantastic gallery turned studio project called Temporarycontemporary with Anthony Gross. They had the most amazing warehouse in Deptford right on the cusp of everything happening in SE London (Has since become apartments). I have also worked for a number of fantastic Modern & Contemporary galleries in central London while curating exhibitions of dress through the UK and abroad. 


    I met Jack, my now husband in 2012. He was still at City & Guilds of London. It was good to see what was coming out of the school and their teaching approach. After a stint at an auction house and Ben Uri, I fell into managing the London branch of a private Chinese & East Asian gallery for a French family. Very specialist - I learned huge amounts about a whole new area of art history and had much more direct client relationships than previous roles which I enjoyed.


    I left in 2014 and Jack and I decided to test the water with a ‘pop-up’ exhibition of two recent graduates from City & Guilds. We wanted to recreate the high end spaces of Mayfair I’d been working in, but for emerging artists, and accessible for the general public. Brocket Gallery began and we took a Kennington space until 2018 when we felt it was time for a larger space and a greater artist offering. We have been lucky enough to host some incredible new artists, residencies and collector events - from which was born Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair.


    How incredible. I love how organic your career path has been. What are some of your career highlights?


    -Meeting Ida Applebroog at her NY studio which was pretty awesome. I just love her work and she’s the contemporary of so many pioneering female artists I admire and still producing the most evocative and pertinent pieces. 

    - Showing Tracey Emin and Paula Rego at the fair  - I couldn’t believe in our second year this would ever happen

    -I think anytime I take a step back and realise the scale of what we’re doing and how many people are (hopefully) benefitting from it. It’s hard to fathom when we are such a small team, especially during lockdown when we are glued individually to the laptop.

    -Our first rave reviews from press - both for the gallery and for WCPF, and our first big collection acquisition 


     The thing that brought us together! Tell me a bit about Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair.


    WCPF evolved from an evening I would host at the gallery called ‘New Collector Evenings’. We would use original print from some of our portfolio artists as a way to introduce works generally at lower price points, given the nature of editions, and educate guests on how original print can be a great way to learn about fine art techniques, discover new artists, develop tastes, and build confidence in talking about contemporary art and their choices, as well as how print is a great medium to introduce bigger named artists to your collection. 


    A client of ours worked with the developers of the Royal Arsenal site in Woolwich. Jack and I are huge fans of the Venice Biennale and felt inspired how fine art has regenerated their Arsenale and wanted to achieve something similar within our own incredible historic site. 

    The ex-industrial spaces are complete architectural delights, demonstrating the significance of the area, albeit controversial, in terms of UK industrial history. 

    We took over the former carriage works for a temporary solo artist exhibition in the summer of 2016 which was well received and we were invited to take on something more regularly. So with 2 months lead time we invited around 150 artists we admired and established Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair. 

    We have quickly become the UK’s largest dedicated fair for original contemporary print, and as far as we can see, there is nothing of this scale in the world and specialise in new approaches to the making, curation and collecting of original print. 

    We are unique in hosting a 50/50 model - half specialist galleries and half a curated exhibition of individual artists. We host an international open call, this year we received nearly 1000 applications, and invite a panel of industry experts who generously volunteer their time to select works. It’s a completely democratic process based on work only. The nature of the selection panel means different tastes are catered for, but ultimately, you can’t buy bad. 

    What is exciting is that we have a fresh collection of works each year that can come from anywhere in the world. It gives an opportunity for self-employed artists, emerging or mid-career, to show in a large-scale, high calibre art fair, which might not happen unless represented by a gallery. 

    Their works hang along some of the biggest known names in contemporary print. We’ve been lucky enough to show Paula Rego, Tracey Emin, Frank Auerbach, Chris Ofili, Stephen Chambers and so many other artists I admire, and our specialist galleries also bring some big name artists. It’s a real treat. 

  • How does 2020 differ from other years?


    It’s been so tough. It’s our 5th year, which for anyone who has set up their own company will know, it’s the make or break year….and we’ve had to cancel the physical edition of the fair. 

    But good news is we now have the all singing and dancing interactive online fair:

    WCPF : The Online Edition runs 12 November - 13 December. Showing work from over 500 artists and specialist galleries. 

    We have a month long programme of talks, tours, demos and discussions with leading creatives, curators and collectors. {Highlight - Mollie Barnes ;) } 


    Thank you very much! ;) 


    Where we are sad not to physically present some of the commissioned artist projects, like our central installations (which are AMAZING this year BTW), we are able to still launch our new collaborative project, Woolwich Contemporary Studio with four fantastic artists who have created designs for wall coverings and interior fabrics. 

    We have also launched the inaugural Young London Print Prize, working with over 500 primary children in south east London across 13 school, delivering print workshops. These have been wonderfully received and aim to inspire creativity where funding for arts education has been cut. Work created by the children will be published in a book for each family and school involved, and a panel made up of judges from three Sixth Forms will select 14 works for exhibition at WCPF 2020. 

    I will be on a discussion panel for the young adults, on the 5th November with K Bailey Obazee of the BBZ Collective and Curator, Paul Goodwin on curation and jobs in the arts. It is such an incredible initiative led by our Head of Board, Matt Bell and our arts educator Izzy. I can’t tell you how proud I feel. 

    Next year we hope to take London wide, and UK wide in following years. 


     I can imagine. How incredible, and I am so honoured to be a part of it. We ALL love collecting artwork, so tell me, what was the first piece you collected?


    The piece I remember being given to me specifically which could be, I guess, the start of my collection was a Paula Rego edition when I was 15. Girl Who Has Been Sick Resting with Her Favourite Cuddly (Rosenthal 281), Serpentine, 2000. I imagine my dad saw it and thought - 'It looks like my daughter' - it is reflective of many difficult periods of my life and has watched over me through all these years. I still love it so much, so you can imagine how thrilled I was when we got to show her work at the Fair a few years ago. 


    What are some other jewels in your collection?


    I have a number of wonderful Tracey Emin prints. Sometimes the Dress Is Worth More Than The Money hung outside our bathroom growing up and now sits in my dressing room. Her Tattoos, for me is incredibly intimate and demonstrate the fragility of a younger self, reflected in the very personal spelling mistakes in the accompanying letter, and ultimately a confidence and reflection of a maturer woman. 

    I have a lovely Flora Yuknovich study she kindly gave us following an exhibition of her work we held at my gallery in 2017. 

    I bought my daughter her first piece at the Fair last year, a new David Shrigley edition launched by Jealous that just made me think of our wonderful dog Thora and our lucky little bubble of love. 

    We’ve just installed a prototype of a limited edition wall frieze taken from a deliciously impressive monotype by up and coming artist Eleanor May Watson. It’s now in our sitting room and we couldn’t be happier with it. It will be available through Woolwich Contemporary Studio.


    And what would be your dream artwork to collect? If money, space or likelihood was no issue?


    -Too hard, so many and always changes. Currently - a large piece by Cecily Brown. Always - historic portraiture, mainly for the costume depictions and what it can tell us about society and the sitter at the time. 



    Lizzie, what is your biggest piece of advice for people starting their collections?


    The fun is in the journey. I’m fascinated with the mind set of a collector, of anything. People say ‘buy the piece you love’. That’s a great starting point - but why do you love it? 

    Start to unravel the instinctive and you can be led on a journey you didn’t know existed. Is it the texture of the paint on the canvas? The intricacy of the etching on the paper? Excavate and explore the details further and you can create a narrative individual to you with work you didn’t know you loved. 


    Lizzie, who are your favourite historical female artists?


    Lee Krasner

    Anna Mendieta

    Varvara Stepanova

    Lyubov Popova

    Louise Bourgeous

    Élisabeth Vigeee le Brun

    Tamara de Lempika

    Georgia O’Keefe

    Eva Frankfurther



    And who are your favourite current practicing female artists and their instagram handles?


    Too many to choose from but here are a mixed selection: 


    Judy Chicago

    Ida Applebroog - @hauserwirth

    Marina Abramovic

    Cindy Sherman

    Paula Rego

    Cornelia Parker

    Cecily Brown

    Marlene Dumas

    Flora Yuknmovich @flora_yuknovich

    Eleanor May Watson @eleanormaywatson

    Tanaka Mazinvanhanga @tanaka.archiprints

    Cat Roissetter @catroissetterart

    Odiila Suanzes @odiliasuanzes

    Antonia Showering @antoniashowering




    Is there anything else you wanted to say?


    Support over 350 emerging artists - don’t miss WCPF 2020! x