Piano Nobile was established by Dr Robert Travers in 1985. The gallery has been based in Holland Park for twenty years and is today run by Robert and his son Matthew Travers. In 2019, Piano Nobile opened a further space on Portland Road to support the gallery’s growing exhibition programme.
The gallery plays an active role in the market for twentieth-century British and international art. With curatorial flair, a refined aesthetic and rigorous scholarship, we seek to source and present exceptional works of art. Whether our clients are buying or selling, we place the utmost importance on discretion, tailoring to the specific needs of each individual.
The gallery name derives from a business established by Robert’s grandparents in Rome after the First World War. Based in the Via Sistina, the gallery sold a range of work from Italian old masters to contemporary paintings by Giorgio de Chirico. In a tribute to the family company, ‘Piano Nobile’ is the Italian phrase for the principal floor of a palazzo – the place where the best art is shown.
Piano Nobile enjoys a strong working relationship with many leading museums in Europe and the USA, especially those involved with twentieth-century British art. The gallery regularly facilitates loans for exhibitions at Tate Britain and the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, and has worked with many other public galleries including Museum MORE in the Netherlands, the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin, the British Council Collection, Southampton City Art Gallery, Pallant House Gallery in Chichester, and the Charleston Trust in Sussex. As well as supplying works to museums, Piano Nobile often enriches its exhibitions with loans from regional and national museums.
The Ruth Borchard Collection
Piano Nobile manages the Ruth Borchard Collection, the UK’s only dedicated public collection of self-portraits by British and Irish artists. Between 1958 and 1971, Ruth Borchard collected one-hundred self-portraits by British and British-based artists. Today, it consists of three collections. The Original collection consists of Borchard's initial acquisitions; Next Generation collection includes work by contemporary British, Irish and UK-resident artists; and the Early collection includes a growing number of self-portraits by British and Irish artists from the early twentieth century.
The gallery also hosts the biennial Ruth Borchard Self-Portrait Prize which celebrates contemporary self-portraiture, perpetuating the values on which Ruth Borchard's original collection was founded. The prize offers a unique opportunity for both established and emerging artists to compete for a £10,000 prize, for their work to be included in a curated, four-month exhibition and a chance to be purchased by the Ruth Borchard Next Generation Collection.
For more information, visit the Ruth Borchard Collection website.