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The Ultimate Gift Guide to 15 Perfect Presents For Art Lovers

Picture of Freire Barnes
Art & Design Editor
Updated: 12 February 2018

Finding that special gift for friends and family is often a challenge. Our Art & Design Editor Freire Barnes selects the best arty presents – from fun artist-inspired socks to limited edition scarves – that are only one click away.

Guess the Artist, £14.99 (Laurence King)

Could you decipher the artist from just three visual clues? Sounds easy but this clever art quiz designed by Craig & Karl will keep you on your toes. Regardless of whether you know your Bosch from your Basquiat, this game is fun for all the family, as the vibrantly zany flashcards will also reveal weird factoids that even the most ardent art fan might not know.

Brown King Charles Spaniel Necklace, £32.50 (RA)

You can give both the dog and art lover in your life this beautiful hand-painted porcelain necklace of a chestnut brown King Charles spaniel that is exclusively at the Royal Academy of the Arts shop to coincide with their current exhibition, Charles 1: King and Collector.

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Brown King Charles Spaniel Necklace | Courtesy Royal Academy of Arts

Polaroid OneStep 2, £109.99

Forget Instagram – it’s time to go back to the good ol’ days of analogue with the launch of a new range of instant cameras and film from Polaroid Originals. In celebration of the 80th anniversary of Polaroid, you can either take a hike down memory lane or discover for the first time the joy of instant photography with the new OneStep 2 camera. (Pack of eight pictures film £14.99).

Martin Parr Colouring Book, £12.95 (Aperture)

This brilliant colouring in book will keep any photo fan entertained for hours. Jane Mount has illustrated some of British photographer Martin Parr’s most iconic images that turn the banal everyday into hilarious observations. From the sock sandal fashion dilemma to the mayhem of seaside fast food restaurants, you’ll have fun putting your colourful take on the British quotidian.

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The Martin Parr Coloring Book. Published by Aperture.

Chatty Feet socks box set, £30

It’s time to give your feet a chance to shine with Chatty Feet’s Artists Sock Collection (Singles available at £7.50). Famous artists from Andy Warhol and Pablo Picasso to Frida Kalho and Vincent van Gogh have been crafted into fun and colourful designs making the perfect stocking filler or under-the-tree present. It just seems a shame to put shoes on! 

Frida-Callus-ChattyFeet copy

Frida Callus. Courtesy Chatty Feet

Roy Lichtenstein Whaam! explosion cushion cover, £20

Who said art was just for hanging on gallery walls. Now you can buy that special someone this brilliant cushion that features a section of the famous American Pop artist, Roy Lichtenstein’s most famous painting. Exclusively created for Tate the cushion features the explosion from Whaam! that recently underwent conservation work and has just gone back on public view at Tate Liverpool.

Art memberships, £32–£150

One of the best way to always guarantee access to sold out art exhibitions is to invest in a membership scheme at one of London’s cultural institutions. For a set annual amount you can make unlimited visits, get priority booking, attend exclusive private views and discounts in the shop and restaurants. From the National Art Pass that works at over 240 national museums to enjoying the perks of the RA, Tate and Barbican’s Friends scheme, this is the ideal gift for any culture lover in your life.

The National Art Pass | © Art Fund

Judy Chicago Dinner Party coasters, $25

This set of cork-board coasters produced by Through the Flower, Judy Chicago’s non-profit art organization, are based on the plate designs of the American artist’s famous installation, The Dinner Party (1974-79) now permanently housed at Brooklyn Art Museum. Representing different women in history, each coaster is from one of four plate designs out of 39 table settings and depict: Primordial Goddess, Sappho, Isabella d’Este, Hypatia.

Judy Chicago Coasters

Dinner Party Coasters | Courtesy Through the Flower Photo: Donald Woodman

Caroline Harper DPG Map print, £16.95 (Dulwich Picture Gallery)

Celebrating 200 years of art in South London, this specially hand-drawn map by local illustrator, Caroline Harper captures the area surrounding Dulwich Picture Gallery, emphasising key architectural sites, paintings of interest and arty anecdotes.

Caroline Harper Map

Caroline Harper DPG Map print | Courtesy Dulwich Picture Gallery

Whistler Nocturne Silk Scarf, £65 (Tate)

Art exhibition merchandise can vary from the informative and concise catalogues to gimmicky mugs, so this silk scarf of the Thames at night is a real delight. Made exclusively to coincide with Tate Britain’s The EY Exhibition: Impressionists In London, the scene was painted by American artist James Whistler in 1871 and was his first Nocturnes that explored the beauty and tranquillity of a night scene.

Olafur Eliasson Little Sun Lamp, £20 (Tate)

Wanting to transform the lives of the 1.1 billion people living without access to energy, artist Olafur Eliasson and engineer Frederik Ottesen founded Little Sun in 2012. Bringing a ray of sunshine in the form of a portable solar-powered LED lamp, Little Sun has helped people living in Ethiopia without electricity and has expanded globally. Your purchase of the lamp at a higher rate enables the project sell the light source at much lower affordable prices.

Yinka Shonibare cufflinks, £35 (Royal Academy of Arts)

Whether you’re stumped what to buy a family member or fancy adding that little bit extra to an outfit, these cufflinks by Yinka Shonibare MBE RA will add that splash of elegance. Exclusively available at the Royal Academy of Arts, the cufflinks feature details from the artist’s The British Library installation, so whoever you gift these to, would literally become a work of art.

Yinka Shonibare Cufflinks

Yinka Shonibare cufflinks | Courtesy Royal Academy of Arts

Lucie Sheridan Print, £45 (Affordable Art Fair)

Art fairs are a great place to find art that you could imagine living with and if the price is right, taking home. Most fairs though only operate at specific times of the year, but now fairs like the Affordable Art Fair sell work all year round through their online portal. We love illustrator and print maker Lucie Sheridan’s prints of famous London landmarks.

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Lucie Sheridan, The Ritz, £45

Yayoi Kusama Soft Pumpkin Sculpture, £200 (Tate)

We all love Kusama’s gourd-inspired sculptures that are incorporated in her Infinity Room installations, or as standalone giant sculptures. And well we just can’t get enough of this, dare we say, cute, soft sculpture designed by the Japanese artist. At a height of 2ocm, the silkscreen printed nylon features Kusama‘s distinctive hallucination-inspired spots and we’re completely hypnotised.

Chris Ofili Woman Tea Towel, £35 (Tate)

Why not dry the Christmas washing up with one of Chris Ofili’s watercolours? Well we don’t mean literally, but this linen tea towel is the next best thing as its digitally printed with a painting from the British artist’s Afromuse series. Arguably a work of art in its own right, why not switch it up and frame it, making a truly unique present. 

Looking for more art gifts inspiration? Take a peruse of these books for art lovers around the world.