No Art in Saatchi's [Pounds Sterling]15k Deal

Article excerpt

Byline: Richard Kay

AS THE owner of a leading modern-art gallery, Charles Saatchi does not usually struggle when choosing where to put a painting or sculpture.

So Saatchi's long-suffering neighbours, who have endured the inconvenience of months of renovations to his new [pounds sterling]12.3 million Chelsea house, were looking forward to a little compensation -- namely a work of art from his private collection that was due to go on public display outside the property.

But now, I learn, under the terms of an arcane planning law, the multi-millionaire collector -- who is married to TV chef Nigella Lawson -- has instead been able to pay [pounds sterling]15,000 in lieu of the artwork.

When he bought the property -- previously a shop-mannequin warehouse -- in February, Saatchi inherited a requirement to either put a piece of art on display outside the premises or pay the fee.

Just over a month after Saatchi, 67, and Nigella, 50, finally moved in -- following a five-day removal operation costing more than [pounds sterling]100,000 and requiring a 20-ton crane -- he has decided to pay up after receiving a demand from Kensington and Chelsea council. …