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McDonald’s to auction paintings of Hampstead as it sells off history

06:00 27 March 2014

Painting of Kenwood Hosue by Kate Lovegrove that previously adorned the walls of McDonald's in Hampstead

Painting of Kenwood Hosue by Kate Lovegrove that previously adorned the walls of McDonald's in Hampstead

Archant

Fast food and art may not be considered obvious bedfellows, but in bohemian Hampstead, it seems even burger joints are keen to indulge their creative side.

The Spaniards Inn painted by Kate LovegroveThe Spaniards Inn painted by Kate Lovegrove

Now a series of murals that adorned the walls of one the area’s most notorious fast food restaurants for more than 20 years have turned up for auction.

The six paintings were commissioned by McDonald’s for its branch in Hampstead High Street, which opened in the face of fierce opposition in 1993.

As part of its attempts to become a little “more Hampstead”, McDonald’s asked renowned muralist Kate Lovegrove to produce a set of paintings of Hampstead.

The results featured such well-known places as Kenwood House and The Spaniards Inn, and they remained on the walls until the branch closed last November.

In its attempts to fit in, McDonald’s also played classical music, erected an English Heritage-approved facade and installed chairs worth £100 each, as well as getting its garden landscaped for the benefit of any overlooking neighbours.

Ms Lovegrove said she was pleased to help McDonald’s open – and thought the “Burger Off!” campaign against it was “deeply unfair”.

“I was approached by McDonald’s because they were determined to win,” she said.

“I think it was deeply unfair because there was a chain pizza restaurant opposite and, in contrast to the McDonald’s shop frontage, it had large gaudy flag signs across its exterior.

“This was a big step away from the usual pink, beige and brown and very plastic interiors they had gone for previously.

“But the pièce de résistance was the landscape garden, a place no one was going to use. Every other garden was full of rubbish and broken chairs!”

Ms Lovegrove went on to decorate two other McDonald’s restaurants and described the company as a “marvellous” employer.

Hampstead Town councillor Linda Chung said: “They were very nice pictures and I’m delighted that they will be recovered.

“I hope McDonald’s will donate the proceeds to local charities Henderson Court and the Keats Community Library; that will make everybody feel a bit better.”

The lots will be sold during Hampstead Auctions online session from 2pm today (Thursday), with estimates ranging from £150 up to £900.

Visit hampsteadauctions.com.

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