The Redfern Gallery was founded in September 1923 on the top floor of Redfern House at 27 Old Bond Street, London W1, as a small artists' cooperative. The founders were two wealthy individuals Arthur Knyvett-Lee and Anthony Maxtone Graham. A young New Zealander, Rex Nan Kivell, joined the gallery in 1925 and, in 1931, took control of the company. Other partners at this time included Lord Alington (who was killed during the war), Mrs Ala von Heisenau-Story (Director of the Santa Barbara Art Gallery, California) and The Earl Amherst, MC. For many years Erica Brausen (later of Hanover Gallery), Peter Cochrane (later of Arthur Tooth & Sons) and Richard Smart were associated with the gallery. Sir Rex de C Nan Kivell (as he then became) was joined by Harry Tatlock Miller in 1939, Dorothy Searle in 1942 and John Synge in the late 1950s.
In 1936 the gallery moved around the corner to larger premises at 20 Cork Street - just opposite the Burlington Arcade and behind the Royal Academy of Arts. The house which comprises 19/20 Cork Street was built in the early 18th Century. At that time it was the town house of John Montague, 4th Earl of Sandwich, and Redfern's main galleries are purportedly where the Earl used to play cards when he was in London. Due to its historical importance No 19/20 Cork Street is a listed building and Redfern is one of the few galleries in London to benefit from skylights.