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Heffers Gallery

In 1876 Heffers books were founded by William Heffer in Cambridge and they also became publishers, in the late 1990s they had six shops in the city, each catering to different areas of the business including an art gallery at 18 Sidney Street, Cambridge. The Sidney Street shop at that time was for new best sellers and stationery on the ground floor with an art gallery on the top floor. In 1949 Bryan Robertson (1925-2002) became curator at the Heffer Gallery in Cambridge and for a year he hired the Newnham student and cookery writer Jane Grigson (1928-1990) to help run the gallery. Although he was only there for three years, he helped bring in fashionable artists and ceramicists and helped change the gallery from selling reproduction prints of the university colleges and Victorian watercolours. One of his first exhibitions was of New Paintings by Francis Rose, Cecil Collins and Merlyn Evans held in 1950 and the following year Josef Herman exhibited in a solo show. Robertson became Director of the Whitechapel Art Gallery in April 1952. Another notable curator from 1963 was Roy Turner Durrant who later became a director of Heffer's. As curators changed over the years the gallery would have a routine of exhibitions of historical works, maps, and archaeological prints, plus ceramics by Lucie Rie and Bernard Leach. They had their own picture framing department, so itís common in East Anglia to find the Hefferís label on the back of pictures that were framed there. The fate of the gallery came when Hefferís sold the business to Blackwells in Oxford who closed the Heffers shops in the city in order to focus only on the Trinity Street bookshop.