A popular city art gallery has change hands with a long-standing customer taking over ownership of the Velvet Easel in Portobello.

Occupational therapist Jane Grant and husband Paul had over the years bought a number of works from founder Rosalind Walker who opened the High Street outlet in November 2013.

Rosalind has decided to retire for a second time – she was a social worker before opening the gallery – but as an artist in her own right she will continue to paint and produce new works.

Jane, who specialised in mental health and substance misuse during a 22 year NHS career, said: “Our house is mostly full of art work from the Velvet Easel and a good number of my birthday and Christmas presents have come from here, so I know the place very well.

“This is a change of direction but I have always used art and creative activities as a therapeutic tool and I have always understood the importance of art and the creative process, but also the joy that you can get from looking at nicely created pieces of work.”

New Velvet Easel gallery owner Jane Grant – Pic by Stephen Rafferty

Nothing much will change from the imprint Rosalind has laid down over seven years in establishing the Velvet Easel as a gallery which promotes a wide range of Scottish and international artists.

“Rosalind has sourced so many fantastic artists of different media and we will run it along the same lines. We are not in a rush to change anything and if it ain’t broke don’t fix it would be our guiding principle,” said Jane.

Velvet Easel founder Rosalind Walker (left) hands over keys to new owner Jane Grant

“Business has been encouraging and a lot of people have been buying gifts for themselves with the mindset that they have got through lockdown and they are desperate to have something new and different and beautiful in the house.”

Jane and Paul will be introducing an e-commerce option on the gallery website so that clients can purchase works online and virtual tours of the gallery featuring individual artists may be a possibility if further Covid-19 restrictions return.

Rosalind added: “The highlight for me is that is has been so well supported by the people of Portobello and further afield and we established a reputation as a small national gallery that punched above its weight.

“Since I retired I have had lots of messages from artists saying that I took them on and that really started things moving for them and they appreciated the faith I had shown. I wanted a welcoming gallery where people would feel comfortable to look around and to browse without being interrupted or facing any kind of hard sell and I think we achieved that.”

www.velveteasel.co.uk