British artist Damien Hirst is to close his Ilfracombe restaurant The Quay, which is located close to one of his sculptures – an imposing bronze statue of a developing foetus inside a figure’s womb.
Hirst’s restaurant, The Quay, is based close to the 25-tonne statue, named Verity, which is on long-term loan to North Devon council, and has helped draw visitors to the seaside town.
The restaurant itself also features unique artworks by Hirst, including butterfly, spot and pickled fish pieces.
However Hirst has confirmed that the restaurant is to close next month, as reported by The Guardian, reportedly as part of a wider restructure of Hirst’s company Science Ltd, allowing him more time at his nearby studio.
A spokesperson for Science said: “Damien is making changes at his company and has made the difficult decision to close the Quay and sell or rent all the properties he owns on the seafront, finding the right people to take them on.”
Verity will retain her position on the seafront, with Hirst not wishing to cut ties with the town completely.
“Damien has a long history with Ilfracombe and loves the people and the area,” the spokesperson added.
In 2016, Hirst partnered with restaurateur Mark Hix on a reincarnation of his popular ‘90s Notting Hill restaurant Pharmacy.
The original restaurant opened in Notting Hill in 1998 at the height of the “Cool Britannia” days of Blur versus Oasis and the rise of the YBAs (young British artists) including Hirst, Tracey Emin, Sarah Lucas and Sam Taylor-Wood.
Despite attracting a celebrity following, boosted by backing from PR whiz Matthew Freud, the restaurant closed its doors in 2003. Its fixtures and fittings were auctioned off at Sotheby’s in 2004, making a total of £11.1 million.
Pharmacy2 is housed within Hirst’s Vauxhall art space, the Newport Street Gallery, in London.