Damien buys fourth quay property
SPECULATION is rife in Ilfracombe after a councillor publicly revealed that Damien Hirst now owns four adjoining properties on the town's quay.
Ilfracombe town councillor Bert Gear told the council's monthly meeting on Monday that the world's richest living artist has now purchased 10 The Quay, which currently houses the Driftwood Gallery.
Many residents think the artist is planning to open a new art gallery in the town.
Mr Hirst has owned 11 The Quay, which is run as a restaurant and bar, since 2000. He purchased the property for £185,000.
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The artist also owns 8 The Quay, the former Captain's Cabin record store, which he purchased in 2008 for £360,000.
In 2010 he applied to convert 8 The Quay into a restaurant but withdrew the plans a year later.
At Monday's meeting Mr Gear said the artist also owns 9 and 10 The Quay which makes "a run of four shops in a row".
The Driftwood Gallery at 10 The Quay, which was opened by Carol and Neil Easton in 2002, has announced on its website that it will be relocating and is promoting a sale which will run until tomorrow.
In a statement to the Journal, gallery manager Sheila Shepherd said: "Driftwood Gallery has been in Ilfracombe for nearly 12 years.
"It was our first gallery and has led to a successful chain of galleries in the South West.
"We are relocating and will remain in Ilfracombe at a new premises which is being kept secret for the time being.
"We have not disclosed to anyone where this shall be, but want to assure all our clients that we shall inform all at the time of opening."
The Journal contacted Damien Hirst's company Science Ltd but no one was available for comment.