Art can sometimes be perceived as a luxury, but Chester art gallery owner Bridget Kimber has made it her mission to make high quality, original art both accessible and affordable.
Gorstella Gallery was first established in Dodleston in 1990 by Bridget’s parents, Peter and Klaizen Bullivant before Bridget took it over in 2004.
She swapped the hustle and bustle of London, as a marketing executive for ITV to settle into a more peaceful way of life co-ordinating exhibitions for the art gallery.
“I’d always helped out at Gorstella but I got a real taste of hosting an exhibition on my own at a charity event to raise money for The Riding for the Disabled, and I’ve been running the gallery ever since,” recalls Bridget.
“It’s still very much a family-run gallery, a case of all hands on deck.
“My children often help out with meeting and greeting visitors with drinks and canapes, and my mum and dad are also always on hand.”
However, Bridget admits to being more of an appreciator of art than an artist herself.
“As much as I’d like to be a dab hand with a paintbrush, my artistic talents leave a lot to be desired I’m afraid,” she admits.
“I’ve always had a passion for it though, which I suppose is why I took over running the gallery.”
As galleries go, Gorstella is fairly unique.
A converted barn in the heart of the Cheshire countryside, it is only open only when an exhibition is current.
Right now Bridget is busy gearing up for the next one which opens on November 7.
“We’re really looking forward to our autumn exhibition,” she said.
“We’ve got over 100 pieces on show, from some fantastic local artists including Martyn Jones, Anne Aspinall, Ian Walton, Matthew Wood, Jenny Hirst, Karel Lek and David Lloyd Griffith.
“We’re also showcasing pieces from the collections of the late Edwin Forrest and Donald McIntyre.
“Many of our artists are well known established names, but we also really enjoy showing work by emerging artist and love the thrill when their work sells well.
“In this exhibition there’s a great range of styles, from landscapes and seascapes to still lifes and portraits.”
But for Bridget the gallery isn’t just a business, it’s about sharing her love of the arts and encouraging others to enjoy it.
“There are other galleries in Cheshire that sell and exhibit original artwork, but I think what makes Gorstella different is that it feels like a gallery as opposed to a shop,” she explains.
“Even if you’re not looking to buy, we encourage people to come along and just enjoy the art.
“Some of our artists attend the preview evenings too, so they’re available to chat to guests, which means they can discover more about individual pieces first hand from the artists themselves.”
Gorstella’s exhibition runs from Thursday November 7 until- Sunday November 17. For more information visit