In the 1950s it was a familiar sight to see Garfield Weston, then our owner and chairman, descend the red-carpeted stairs around midday and head out for lunch.
It was an equally familiar sight to see Mr. Weston returning a few hours later with a new painting in tow.
Many of those paintings quickly made their way onto our walls, but Mr. Weston was never too possessive of any of them. If a customer took a liking to something and was willing to pay a little more than the original price, the painting was theirs to keep.
We’ve even been known to accept artworks from artists, in lieu of payment. The multi- talented artist, film director and novelist John Paddy Carstairs once proposed paying a grocery bill with one of his paintings.
We liked the painting – and the idea of doing something as typically Fortnum’s as writing- off a food bill in exchange for a work of art – and so we agreed…