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John Huddy of ILeopard Creative has enjoyed a life-long interest and appreciation of fine art. His father was a keen collector of pictures and studio ceramics, when collecting in this field was in its infancy. John was fortunate to gain a classical education in Medieval History, English and Latin at St Paul's School, London, along with an introduction to the History of Art. He subsequently went on to gain his MA (Hons) in History of Art from the University of St Andrew's in Scotland, specialising in Venetian and Florentine Renaissance painting under Martin Kemp (now professor at Oxford), along with two years study of Theology. He completed his Master's dissertation on the early 20th century Cornish-based painter Christopher Wood. 


He subsequently worked at Christie’s, St James’s, London, gaining first-hand experience of the international art market in the Old Master Paintings, Valuations, and Heritage and Taxation departments. He assisted with a large-scale valuation for a major private English collection as well as undertaking research and assisting in writing entries on Private Sales for the annual Christie’s Review of the Year (1995). He then went on to specialise independently in European Old Master Drawings, acquiring pieces for collectors and exhibiting his collection at a number of key British art fairs. 


In 1995 John began working with book illustrators and film animators and Illustrationcupboard Gallery was launched. Over the next 25 years this built into a unique, ground-breaking global enterprise, holding events and exhibitions the world-over, with ongoing representation in Japan, Hong Kong and South Korea. The gallery was one of the first art dealerships in the UK to launch its own website in 1997, and its online presence flourished alongside its in-house exhibitions. 


Promoting and exhibiting original artwork, by both leading and up-and-coming book illustrators and film animators was a sector largely overlooked in the contemporary art market at that time, but is now a canon of mainstream collecting. His much-loved three-floor art gallery in the world-famous art district of St James’s in Mayfair established the collecting market for contemporary illustration art worldwide – a most valuable, fascinating and expanding area of the international art arena. The gallery closed in 2019 and John has taken his many years of entrepreneurial experience to ILeopard Creative, as well as Art Of The Book, in which his passion for book illustration continues. 


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