What is the Difference Between Original and Commissioned Art?

Buying original artwork is about more than decoration, it is about investing in a desirable piece of art that will retain its value for future years to come. There are many different reasons why you may choose to invest in original and commissioned artwork, but perhaps you don’t know the difference. In this article, we will reveal the differences between original and commissioned art and why they are a great option for any living space.


Original Art – ‘Ante Meridiem’, 2022


What is original art?

‘Original artwork’ is defined as the first authentic version of artwork created by the artist. For example, Leonardo Da Vinci’s well-known portrait the ‘Mona Lisa’ is an original painting, created by Da Vinci himself. While the Mona Lisa has been replicated a record number of times, each replication of this painting would not be classified as an original, while the authentic Mona Lisa itself remains an original.

Another great example of this is Toni Thornton’s limited edition printed designs. Thornton creates the initial design and then each original design in her printed collections is then replicated only 100 times. Each artwork within the edition is a printed version of an original piece. The original piece would never be sold and is preserved safely in storage.

The term ‘original art’ can encompass many different forms, paintings and sculptures among the different forms.



How can you tell when art is original?

When identifying original artwork, it is important to know which signs to look for.

One way you can authenticate art is to research and know the artist. In the case of Toni Thornton Art, each original artwork is specified online and is supplied with a certificate of authenticity. While our authentic limited-edition printed designs are also supplied with a certificate of authenticity, any original paintings will always be specified as original on the certificate.

Another way to know whether a piece of art is original or not is through the signature which will be inscribed upon the artwork itself or on the certificate of authenticity. Each of Toni Thornton’s limited edition printed designs, which are only ever produced 100 times, are signed and numbered to acknowledge and number them as part of the edition.

In the case of original art, Thornton signs each piece without numbering the design as it will not be replicated as part of a wider edition.

Another notable way to identify an original painting is to view the surface of the canvas (this can change depending on which medium the artwork has been created on). In the case of Toni Thornton Art, while our beautiful limited edition prints are of the highest quality, with each brushstroke visible to the eye, the surface of the canvas is not textured or raised.

On the other hand, an original painting may have visibly raised marks or brushstrokes where layers of paint have dried, adding to the unique texture of each design.


Where can I buy original art?

In our digital era where modern technology has generated various e-commerce platforms, the process of investing in original art is no longer confined to more traditional buying methods such as physical galleries or auctions. While these important spaces still exist, original art for sale can now be viewed and purchased digitally on artist websites, online galleries, and even mainstream social media platforms such as Instagram. Please find our favourite original artworks for sale here.


Why is original art more expensive than printed art?

While this is not always the case, original artwork tends to be more expensive than printed art. When purchasing an original piece of artwork, especially from a renowned or recognised artist, you are investing in both the artwork and the artist themselves. Therefore, you own a unique and original piece of art considered a rarity and more valuable than a printed version of the same artwork.



What is commissioned art?

Much like original art, the term ‘commission’ relates to a unique and creative process involving many different forms and mediums of art. When commissioning artwork, you are essentially hiring the artist to create something more bespoke to you, your tastes and your chosen interior space.

Unlike original art, commissioned art is not confined to the one-of-a-kind nature that original art beholds but instead encompasses many forms. For example, you may choose to commission an original piece or choose to hand embellishment a printed artwork within the limited edition collections.


What is the commission process at Toni Thornton Art?

If you are interested in commissioning artwork with Toni Thornton Art and would like to know more information, please view our comprehensive commission guide  here. For any other questions and enquiries, please email us at info@tonithorntonart.com and a member of our dedicated team would love to discuss your ideas with you.


Why can commissioned art be more expensive than original art?

Each commissioned piece is tailored to the client’s requirements, including the size of the artwork, the colours and tones incorporated by the artist to align the artwork within the chosen interior space. Additional costs, such as sourcing specific materials for the project, having frames specially made, visits to the framing studio alongside the most important factor, client communication, can mean that hundreds of hours are spent on a single commission space.

Therefore, the commission process is not only about the art, but also about the bespoke service, ensuring the final product is perfectly suited to your tastes and space! While this does not devalue original art at all, these additional costs can mean commissioned art is sometimes more expensive.



Please get in touch with our team at info@tonithorntonart.com to discuss your commissioned artwork ideas. We would love to hear from you!


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