Damien Hirst donates 70 portraits drawn on placemats to the British Museum

29 April 2019

(Via Wiki Commons)

If Damien Hirst is anything to go by, it seems that even aging agent provocateurs enjoy a fancy breakfast every once in a while.

The YBA bigwig – last seen on It’s Nice That after the unveiling of 14 gigantic bronze statues in Doha, Qatar – has donated 70 portraits to the British Museum, each of which was scrawled onto placemats as the artist reclined of a morning with a restorative bowl of Frosties in the rather plush confines of uber-swanky Piccadilly restaurant The Wolseley.

Joining the double-headed turquoise serpents and stashes of gnarled and knobbled Roman coins which fill the rooms of one of the most popular museums on Earth will now be a collection of scribbled images of former Hirst associate, Frank Dunphy.

Dunphy, for those of you at home who didn’t have a membership to the Groucho Club back in the day, spent a stint as the artist’s business manager. He is credited as turning the spot-mad shark-fancier into a “global superstar.”

The Guardian reports that “Hirst placed the placemats on his knee, out of sight of other diners, and drew with ballpoint pen or pencil.”

Talking to the newspaper, the British Museum’s curator of prints and drawings, Hugo Chapman, praises the images’ “wonderful immediacy,” a quality he puts down to the “doodling quality” that comes with the artist having worked on them at “great speed,” presumably for fear of his bacon bap going cold.

Hirst has donated his prandial portraiture to the museum under the Cultural Gifts Scheme, which offers philanthropically-minded donors a nice little tax reduction. For his 70 drawings, Hirst is likely to have a cool £90,000 knocked off next year’s bill from HMRC.

Nice work if you can get it.

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About the Author

Josh Baines

Josh Baines joined It's Nice That from July 2018 to July 2019 as News Editor, covering new high-profile projects, awards announcements, and everything else in between.

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