First, a pickled shark. Next up for Damien Hirst, his ‘white elephant’ manor house | Damien Hirst

When Damien Hirst purchased a historic manor within the Cotswolds he had grand plans. The crumbling Nineteenth-century Toddington Manor, which the world’s richest artist purchased for £3m in 2005, could be restored to its former glory, was his household residence and be a spectacular gallery for his private artwork assortment.

However years 17 years after its buy, the property stays uninhabited and lined in scaffolding and tarpaulin. Locals have branded it an “eyesore,” a “white blob” and “a blight on the countryside”.

Pissed off native residents in Toddington, 10 miles east of Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire, at the moment are taking issues in their very own arms. This week the parish council will meet to come back up with a plan that it hopes will power Hirst to lastly make good on his promise to revive the property.

“We wish to see what could be completed, if something in any respect,” mentioned Toddington parish council’s chairman, Nigel Parker. “It is among the largest eyesores within the space. Individuals are fed up with it. Damien Hirst has had this property for 17 years now, however it’s nonetheless clad in scaffolding and tarpaulin, and so far as we will inform there is no such thing as a restoration in sight.”


Hirst discovered fame in 1992 when his pickled tiger shark proved to be the centrepiece of the acclaimed Younger British Artists exhibition on the Saatchi gallery. A sliced cow and calf, and pickled sheep adopted in fast succession, however Hirst’s twin obsession with loss of life and publicity was maybe greatest witnessed with his controversial 2007 platinum solid of a human cranium encrusted with diamonds, which he claimed offered for £50m

Hirst’s work – and the costs it offered for – turned synonymous with the brand new wealth of the late Nineteen Nineties and 2000s. This reached a climax in September 2008 with the sale of greater than 200 of his artworks at Sotheby’s for a whole of $200m – on the identical day that Lehman Brothers collapsed, sparking a world monetary disaster.

Hirst purchased the sprawling property in Gloucestershire, which bankrupted the household that constructed it, for £3m, with locals advised that it was destined to be his household residence and a spectacular gallery for his private artwork assortment.

However within the wake of his cut up in 2012 from his long-term companion Maia Norman, the mom of his three sons, the challenge has stalled, with locals complaining they’ve been saved at midnight.

The property is on Historic England’s “in danger” register and the heritage organisation mentioned it was aspiring to work with Tewkesbury borough council “to encourage the proprietor” to press forward with the restoration.

Toddington Manor in Gloucestershire is still awaiting restoration after it was purchased for £3m in 2005
Toddington Manor in Gloucestershire continues to be awaiting restoration after it was bought for £3m in 2005. {Photograph}: Colin Underhill/Alamy

Malle Hague, who lives close to the manor, mentioned: “I want he would bloody effectively get on with it. It could be good if he may at the very least camouflage this white blob. He’s an artist – he may simply paint it.

“It’s a blight on the countryside. That is an space of excellent pure magnificence however you may see this for miles. In the beginning he did a lot of fine work however this has gone on too lengthy now.”

Accomplished in 1840, Toddington Manor took 21 years to assemble. It was constructed by Charles Hanbury-Tracy MP, later Lord Sudeley, and the size of the enterprise would ultimately bankrupt his household in 1893.

Composed of a quadrangle and surrounded by cloisters, the house has a massive entrance corridor, a grand staircase, a 40ft-long oak-panelled eating room, and two libraries, with intricate stone and wooden carving.

It is among the earliest examples of what turned referred to as Victorian gothic, and when Sudeley helped to pick out Charles Barry to rebuild the Homes of Parliament, the architect reportedly took Toddington as one among his fashions.

Councillor John Evetts, chair of Tewkesbury council’s planning committee, mentioned: “It’s been a hell of a very long time since he purchased it. I’m advised Hirst has by no means utilized for planning permission.

“Because the chair of the native planning committee, so far as I’m conscious he has by no means spoken to us. I work in restoration and conservation and I feel it may price Damien Hirst £50m to revive and nonetheless not be completed.


“The speak of the city is that when he [split with his partner] he misplaced curiosity on this challenge. So far as I’m conscious there have been no additional planning approaches or additional permissions granted. It seems he has simply deserted it or acquired uninterested in it. It’s the largest white elephant I’ve ever seen. The truth is ‘folly’ could be a good phrase.”

Bert Alvis, a native farmer and parish councillor, complained that his repeated inquiries with the property administration firm have didn’t illicit any solutions.

“I’ve requested the agent, which manages the property, they usually don’t know. We heard he was going to make use of it as a non-public house and personal gallery for his assortment,” he mentioned. “However after the crash, all the things stopped. It’s odd: nobody is telling anyone something.”

Final 12 months it was revealed that Hirst, who’s reportedly value £315m, had taken out £15m in Covid loans and furloughed employees on the taxpayers’ expense. Though his predominant firm, Prints and Editions, has £188m of artwork on its books, it has failed to show a revenue since 2016, and Hirst has closed lots of his firms within the final 4 years.

In 2018 it was revealed that Hirst was closing down his high-profile restaurant in Ilfracombe, Devon, simply a 12 months after he had shut his gallery within the city.

This was billed as a part of a restructuring of his sprawling Science Ltd empire but in addition drew native criticism that the artist had left some properties vacant.Hirst has constructed up a formidable property portfolio since he exploded on to the British artwork scene. Toddington Manor, nevertheless, was meant to be his piece de resistance.

A Tewkesbury council spokesman mentioned it was “glad there are intentions to restore it”. However he added that there have been no present planning utility listed and “we’re not conscious of any work that has taken place”.

Parker, chair of the parish council, mentioned: “After the assembly we could write to Damien Hirst and his representatives, or it might be that Tewkesbury will. However, both manner, it’s time this was resolved.”

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