Perhaps the art world moves a little more slowly, but there's no doubt that two decades since I first opened the doors of the Roger Billcliffe Gallery have seen huge changes in the Scottish art market.
In 1992, painting in Scotland was dominated by a group of artists and teachers who had inspired generations of students at the four Scottish art schools – Alberto Morrocco, David Donaldson, Duncan Shanks, Sandy Goudie, Leon Morrocco, James Robertson, Mary Armour, John Houston and Robin Philipson.
Sadly, Philipson died just days after the gallery opened. At his funeral gathered the greatest array of artistic talent that had ever been seen in Scotland, most of whom we were already committed to show with us.
In the years to follow, most of Philipson's peers also died, but the particular flavour and style of painting that they had encouraged continued to be shown in the gallery.
The younger generations of Martin, Devlin, Mitchell, Scouller, Edgar, Fullarton, McArthur and Wilson (and many others) built on these foundations and still form the core of our most popular shows. They were joined by one of the young Turks of the New Glasgow Boys, Peter Howson.
Within the first few months of opening I was asked to sell one of Mackintosh's most important watercolours. It sold, very quickly, for a six-figure sum, to a British collector and over the next few years Mackintosh formed a substantial part of our business, with sales to both British and American collections – on top of our cataloguing the huge Howarth collection for the Christie's sale in 1994. The Colourists and Glasgow Boys were not to be neglected and we have sold both to private collectors and public collections, including Kelvingrove and the Fergusson Gallery in Perth.
Prior to setting up the gallery in 1992, I joined the Fine Art Society (FAS) in 1979, following some time as curator of Fine Art at Glasgow Museums, which I joined in 1977 with the encouragement of the inspirational director, Trevor Walden.
At the end of 1978, Walden informed all the curators that he was going to be spending much of his time on the projected Burrell building in Pollok Park. I decided it was time to move on and I took up an offer from the FAS to join them to open a gallery in Glasgow alongside their existing Edinburgh gallery.
At this point, I'd already published three books and organised several exhibitions devoted to Mackintosh, so to me it appeared to be the ideal opportunity to concentrate on exhibitions and develop research into Scottish painting, in which the FAS specialised.
We planned originally to establish our Glasgow gallery in the Willow Tea Rooms, but unfortunately it didn't work out and we were offered the alternative premises of Muirhead Moffat in Blythswood Street.
From 1992, FAS changed its focus to concentrate on its business in London and closed their Scottish galleries. With Lord Macfarlane of Bearsden, then the chairman of FAS, I opened a new gallery and managed to keep the old FAS premises. We were doing something very different from FAS, however, by concentrating on contemporary Scottish painting, so over the years demands changed.
What we were selling was often less expensive than historic Scottish painting and so we were able to attract younger buyers – as well as established buyers who, like us, were not in the Colourist market.
One innovation that has proved popular among artists and clients has been our annual exhibitions of postcards where we present small watercolours and drawings, usually A5 in size and unframed, allowing clients to buy small works by established and sought-after artists at affordable prices. The exhibitions still attract a lot of attention and have inspired other galleries to follow.
My colleague Michael Corsar leads our search for new talent. Annual visits to Scotland's degree shows ensure that our "stable" of artists develops, although in recent years it has become more difficult to find the same interest in painting among new graduates as they are pulled towards conceptual art and installation.
Lynn Park, who joined me in 1994, opened a new focus for the gallery – contemporary applied arts. A metalworker, trained at Glasgow School of Art, she has brought to Glasgow the best of British and international jewellers and silversmiths, quickly gaining Crafts Council recognition for the gallery. Now her solo exhibitions are complemented by two annual exhibitions of the best of contemporary makers.
We started life in the midst of a recession and find ourselves back in another. What the future holds is anyone's guess, but I am sure it will be no less invigorating – and challenging – for Scotland's art world.
Roger Billcliffe is an authority on Charles Rennie Mackintosh and has written definitive books on the Glasgow Boys and the Scottish Colourists. The 20:20 Vision summer show runs at the Billcliffe Gallery in Glasgow to July 24.