Kerry Darlington: What is a Unique Edition?
What is a Unique Edition?
Once in an artistic generation, an individual will change the manner in which the material of their works is viewed and enjoyed by collectors. When I began my career in galleries 11 years ago, the chasm between original works and prints was vast. Originals so often equalled unreachable expense, where editions were reproduced onto paper and sealed behind reflective glass, in many instances losing the intricacies of the artist’s hand. Embellished editions were still in their relative infancy.
In the early stages of her endeavour, Kerry Darlington was quietly forging a name for herself with her beloved Tree of Life motif, inspired by Gustav Klimt in heady autumnal hues. Ever ambitious, ever the innovator Darlington sought ways to paint more complex and imaginative compositions exploring The Otherworld in all its guises from Nature’s Faeries to the Land of Oz. Inspired by the support of her early collectors, the artist visualised editions which would give the same enjoyment and impression as an original work. Never compromising, many months were spent developing the concept of a ‘unique edition’, a brand-new idea was going to take the contemporary art market by storm.
The first time I accepted delivery of Faerie Forest from her studio, I mistook it for an original work. One of the first editions made by the artist, the hand carved wooden 3D maple leaves stood proudly above the image and it was sealed in gloss resin; the use of which in art Darlington had pioneered several years earlier. Another was bought into the gallery by Darlington’s husband Cristhian – it was another Faerie Forest, but it wasn’t the same. The leaves were different colours with hand lined metallic ink, and in different placements. The unique edition was born.
The Evolution of Kerry Darlington's Unique Editions
Revolutionising both Darlington’s own creative process and the art market with it, the first unique editions were just a small sign of what was to follow. With every edition a fresh interpretation of the original work, each piece has the spirit of the artist’s vision within it. Recent works The Princess and the Pea and The Elixir of Love were fresh opportunities for the artist to tweak and play with colour and object.
Kerry Darlington's Princess and the Pea
The Princess and the Pea has numerous differences between each edition – in the bottom left of the composition the ornate golden wardrobe holds dresses of varying colours. In some editions the princess’s gowns are purple, red and pink, in others they are yellow, green and peach. Amongst the mattresses a real zip in multicolours is encased under the resin, a quirky addition adding to the gorgeous tactile nature of the works. The bows and buttons adorning the Princess’s bed are freshly laid on every work and then hand finished with Darlington’s signature gloss resin finish.
Elixir of Love - the new Unique Edition
The jam-packed Valentine’s edition The Elixir of Love is an enchanting tale of two woodland faeries enjoying a quiet moment over an acorn cup of tea and a sweet snack. The jammy-dodger biscuits, glimmer with hand applied red diamond dust for extra shine. The intricate florals of the piece are hand placed, the bluebells and buttercups changing position on each piece. Hanging up are delicate pieces of cutlery hand drawn in silver ink and metallic leaf. Raised 3D-leaves are scattered across the top of the forest.
For both titles Wyecliffe Galleries offer the opportunity to pick your exact edition to reflect that the first to the last piece is lavished with the same extraordinary attention to detail and imaginative re-interpretation. Proudly remaining the flagship gallery for the works of Kerry Darlington for over a decade, the entire team are never happier than on release date. Receiving over half of every edition for our collectors, when the artist’s husband Cristhian delivers the finished works to us it is a special day. We all rush into the studio, eager to start spotting the differences. For me, it reminds of that very first time of seeing a unique edition, and the spellbinding magic of owning a hand made piece from the world of Kerry Darlington.
AUTHOR: Katia Hickmer Dacey – Head of Sales
Having completed four years training in prestigious art institution Central Saint Martins, Katia graduated with a degree in Fine Art. Over the last decade she has forged a successful career in art consultancy, managing galleries across the South East. Her adoration of art has seen her travel to study the renaissance and baroque periods for several months in cultural haven Italy, and has been additionally educated at Sotheby’s Institute in Art and Finance.