As one of London’s most legendary hotels, The Savoy has a long history of involvement in the arts. This you probably know. What you may not realise is that the grande dame of five-star hospitality has amassed a collection of contemporary artwork since its reopening in 2010. Sally Vaughan of Go Figurative, a bespoke art agency, curates the ever-expanding collection, which features works such as Stuart McAlpine Miller’s ‘A Time for Reflection in the Thames Foyer’, David Downes’ depiction of the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant, positioned in the Front Hall, Douglas Gray’s Monet-inspired ‘Cloudbreak, River Thames’ hanging in the River Room, and Jonty Hurwitz’s anamorphic sculpture ‘The 14th Guest’, with pride of place in Kaspar’s Seafood Bar and Grill.
The hotel’s latest acquisition is ‘The Legend of Melba’, a hand-drawn triptych with gold-leaf detailing by Dawn Coulter Cruttenden, set to hang in the hotel’s high-end patisserie bearing Melba’s name. The piece pays homage to the glittering Australian opera diva, Dame Nellie Melba, and the father of haute cuisine and first head chef of The Savoy, Auguste Escoffier, who created the Peach Melba in her honour in the 1890s. Much more than peaches and ice-cream, Escoffier’s confection was as dazzling a piece of theatre as Melba’s performance in ‘Lohengrin’ that night: lights dimmed and a swan sculpted from ice, topped with plump peaches, vanilla ice-cream and curlicues of spun sugar, was wheeled into the restaurant by its creator.