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How do you decide what to collect? Some collectors will follow a specific artist or school of art. Others will look for subject matter or simply be led by decorative appeal. Those who collect seriously for investment purposes tend to play it safe, looking for the best, most typical works by artists, which are more likely to hold their value when times get tough.

One of the most dramatic success stories in recent years has been the Grosvenor School of Art, whose leading names experimented with the linocut process in the early 1930s. Influenced by Vorticism and Art Deco, these highly graphic designs used dynamic forms and patterns to create a sense of movement and focus. Look at the works of the two leading names in this school, Sybil Andrews and Cyril Power, and you can see how they harnessed graphic design and colour to convey the power of modernism with their images of the Underground, the Motor Age and even hunting. At the very top end, single prints have made close to £100,000.

Variables affecting price among Grosvenor School prints include colour combinations, the strength of the imprint, subject matter and – as with other prints – condition.

Works should preferably be signed, dated and numbered. Evidence that the print has been produced by a well-known printer or studio can also add to its allure.

It is sensible to ensure, when setting a budget for buying, that allowance is made for mounting and framing, if necessary, as well as insurance. If buying at auction, in particular, collectors may also have to add the Artist’s Resale Right levy to the hammer price and auctioneer’s charges.

Apart from the obvious attractions of a great subject, fine composition, attractive mix of colours and limited edition, what else should you look for when buying a print?

Condition can be very important. Try to avoid prints that have been folded, cropped beyond their margins, scratched, torn, scuffed and creased. Does the colour look faded? How white is the paper?

It’s also much safer to go for works that are signed, dated and numbered. Evidence that a well-known printer or studio has produced the print can also help.

More on this next time.