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Auction of Fifty Shades of Grey director’s framed Ham&High article sees £4,800 bid

PUBLISHED: 17:00 09 February 2015

The Ham&High article framed by Sam Taylor-Johnson was valued between £5,000 and £7,000. Picture: Dominic Lipinski

The Ham&High article framed by Sam Taylor-Johnson was valued between £5,000 and £7,000. Picture: Dominic Lipinski

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Heathman was astonished to discover how a print-out of a Ham&High website article reached an eye-watering £4,800 at a recent Bonhams auction house, after it was framed by Fifty Shades of Grey director Sam Taylor-Johnson.

The Ham&High article was on display at the Institute of Contemporary Arts. Picture: Dave BenettThe Ham&High article was on display at the Institute of Contemporary Arts. Picture: Dave Benett

The award-winning artist, who is in the middle of promoting her adaptation of the best-selling novel, framed a copy of a Ham&High news report for an charity exhibition curated by Jake Chapman of the Chapman Brothers.

The “artwork”, which went on display at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in The Mall, features our report of armed police swarming outside the artist’s home in Primrose Hill when an ex-Iranian soldier and passing dog walker spotted an M16 machine gun lying on a table through her basement window.

The incident in August, which later made headlines around the world, sparked alarm and saw her leafy residential street swamped with police brandishing their own machine guns.

The weapon was later found by officers to be a decommissioned rifle intended to be part of a peace charity’s art exhibition.

Peace One Day had given machine guns to a number of prominent artists with the idea of turning “objects of war to use in support of peace”.

With Mrs Taylor-Johnson’s as-yet untransformed piece of art gathering more media attention for the charity than any piece was likely to, she instead chose as her submission a framed copy of the Ham&High’s article printed on fine art paper, which includes a picture taken by Primrose Hill resident Phil Cowan.

Entitled simply No Comment, it was valued by Bonhams at between £5,000 and £7,000.

In a sign that the art world may not have gone totally mad, the final bid was just under the £5,000 reserve price, forcing the charity to sell the piece privately.

In keeping with the name of the piece, Mrs Taylor-Johnson chose not to comment when approached by Heathman but the charity’s head, actor Jeremy Gilley, said he was “hugely grateful to the artists involved”.

While Heathman is tempted to trade more framed web articles down the pub later, readers will be pleased to know that the cost of the paper remains an 80p bargain.

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