The Melbury Gallery Story

A VW Beetle, a split screen VW camper, a Morris Minor and an MG ….. all iconic vehicles, and all owned by Thelma during a period of time where they hadn’t reached their iconic status - where they were merely vehicles to get you from A to B and back again ….. well hopefully !!!

The Melbury Gallery story first began in London, in the early heady days of the  Seventies, where a young Thelma arrived wide-eyed, amazed and delighted by metropolitan freedom.  “We had the iconic Biba Store” she recalls, “along with Laura Ashley’s flagship Sloane Square store, the first Monsoon, the Kings’ Road stores; all ground-breaking, all inspirational.  “We were always at art galleries and music venues too.  It was such an incredibly happy and exciting time”.  Eccentric and eclectic London street markets were a part of daily life, working on Kensington High Street, meant that Kensington and Brick Lane were favorites. “I bought a treasured white embroidered Afghan coat from Portobello Road market, even my engagement ring came from there.”

At this time Thelma also made her own clothes - velvet jackets, cotton dresses and even a suit for her husband, all created from market-stall finds. Thelma’s love of fashion is inherited, she says, from her elegant grandmother, styled in the glamorous 20’s and a massive early influence. There is no doubt that the 70’s era, and the amazing “can do” attitude that was experienced by many during this period, shaped her life’s work, finding expression today in the unique character of Melbury Gallery.

The first Melbury Gallery shop opened in Shaftesbury, in April 1980.  Originally an art gallery featuring exhibitions by South West artists, Thelma began introducing jewellery, ceramics and then clothing. 1983 saw the move to Sherborne, where, from the bottom of the High Street, the new Melbury Gallery store went from strength to strength. In 1995, when Denners’ department store closed, Melbury Gallery relocated to its current Sherborne site; a brave and highly successful mid-recession move offering the prominent shop-front now enjoyed.

In March 2010 a second store in Dorchester was opened and has, over a short period, attracted an equally loyal following of customers in this beautiful county town.

Thelma is the very heart and soul of Melbury Gallery.  Her individual style and flair is felt in everything within the store, from the smallest shapely earring to the largest luscious throw.  In fact every single item is still hand-selected by Thelma, so that even, as the business grows, its unique identity remains.

An incredibly proud moment for Thelma was when the Gallery won the Best National Independent Gift Retailer of Jewellery Award at the Lancaster Hotel in London, on 17th May 2012. A massive accolade for an indepenent business, especially sharing the room with retail giants such as John Lewis, Selfridges and Marks and Spencer. Recognition indeed for Thelma's ability to seek out and purchase such a dazzling array of stock from artisans as local as Cornwall, to the far flung corners of the globe.

This website now offers an exciting opportunity for the further growth of this incredible company. By always honoring the past, we can embrace the future with a firm commitment to continuing the very things that make Melbury Gallery so special.