A hidden gem

news: A hidden gem

Hidden away round the back of Paderne is a unique art gallery, which the owners say is dedicated to being ‘of the people for the people’.

Run by Pedro Corte Real and Tom Compton, the Corte Real gallery is a restored farmhouse full of colourful paintings framed in unique reclaimed wooden frames, gravity defying chandeliers and handmade furniture, all displayed in a relaxed, rustic atmosphere. The Resident’s Sarah Howe went to meet the owners and find out more.

Walking through the gates into the Corte Real, it is obvious that this is no ordinary gallery. The courtyard features several unusual sculptures, a couple of beautiful hand crafted chairs and an improvised Christmas tree, decorated with green glass baubles.

Inside the renovated farmhouse, the theme is equally eclectic, with stunning handmade glass chandeliers, made up of broken wine glasses, shards of coloured glass, and even pebbles, to light the way. The walls are hung with a kaleidoscopic array of paintings from an international group of artists who, Tom tells me, “share the simple and honest ‘arts and crafts’ approach to creativity”.

So how did the gallery come about? Both Tom and Pedro paint and have exhibited at various markets and hotels around the region. After several successful events, they decided to renovate the farmhouse in Paderne to create a base from which to work. “It was hard work and we had to fight to get exactly what we wanted, but we’re really pleased with what we’ve achieved,” Tom explains. “We had a vision of an unpretentious gallery where people could come, have a cup of tea and feel comfortable, and that is exactly what we’ve got.”

The art on display is sent by artists from as far afield as California, Genoa and Paris, and from as close by as Boliqueime and Silves, including work from local artist, Jessica Dunn. When the paintings arrive, Tom sets to work and designs a unique frame to complement each picture. These are all made of reclaimed wood, collected from the beach or countryside, then painted and decorated. So far, the artists have been delighted with his unusual frames – and clients have flocked to buy the finished art. “We’ve sold a lot of paintings since we opened in May,” Tom explains. “Many people stop by and just fall in love with a piece.” This is no surprise as the paintings are surprisingly affordable, ranging in price from around 150 to 250 euros – coincidentally making them perfect Christmas gifts. So, for a refreshingly down to earth art experience, why not visit the Corte Real gallery?

Although it is tucked away at the back of Paderne, there are signs posted along the main road through the town to the front door of the gallery. For more information call 289 368 600.