Marc Quinn’s London

The British artist is best known for Self, a sculpture series in his own frozen blood, and Alison Lapper Pregnant, commissioned for the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square

Artist Marc Quinn with his two dogs Buster and Jet on Primrose Hill
Artist Marc Quinn with his two dogs Buster and Jet on Primrose Hill | Image: Sebastian Böttcher

My girlfriend Jenny and I usually go out late on Friday nights -– perhaps to the Chiltern Firehouse, where anything can happen, or to a party – so it’s not an early start on Saturdays. Jenny loves dancing and I like to unwind at the end of the week, so we won’t get to bed before about 3am. But if my boys, who are nine and 14, are staying I’ll get up and have breakfast with them. Then we’ll probably take the dogs, twin black Labrador/Vizsla crosses called Buster and Jet, for a run on Hampstead Heath.

We’ll come back and hang around the house and in the garden, skateboarding or playing tennis or football – just messing around. At midday I’ll go to the gym and then we might go out to lunch. The boys’ favourite place is Gourmet Burger Kitchen in Belsize Park. They’ll have burgers, chips and an Oreo milkshake that puts them in a carb coma for three hours. I’ll have the odd chip – I am vegan, although I eat fish.

In the afternoon we might go shopping. We like Uniqlo and have to make sure we don’t all wear our white trousers at the same time. Quite often we’ll pop to my studio in Clerkenwell, where I’ll do some pottering and they will make some art as well. Sometimes they invite their friends. Afterwards we’ll head to Scott’s on Mount Street, a family favourite. They’ll have steak, very contrarily in a fish restaurant, or fish and chips, and I’ll have oysters and Dover sole. We’ll go home and watch a film or play bar billiards, which we have become obsessed with. Then I might go out with Jenny. We sometimes go to Dinner by Heston for a drink – Heston is a mate – or we’ll visit friends for a nightcap.


On Sunday we’ll wake late and read the papers. Then we’ll take the dogs for a walk on Primrose Hill and maybe get some fish at La Petite Poissonnerie. I always like the oysters and we’ll get some mackerel, turbot or halibut too. I have a really good cook from the Philippines who does all kinds of Asian-fusion cuisine, so I usually let her take over, especially if we have people for lunch. In the afternoon we might go to the Science Museum. We saw the Cosmonautsexhibition recently, which was very good, and the boys love browsing the gadgets at the museum shop. I also like taking them to the totally unfashionable bits of the V&A. We went to the silver and stained-glass galleries, which didn’t last long; a quick hit is much better than trying to do the whole thing in one go.

Otherwise I’ll visit an artist in their studio. I’m not much of a shopper but I like buying art, from galleries, at auction or directly from artists. I have bought work by a young painter called Henry Hudson and I am interested in Polly Morgan’s taxidermy sculpture and Eddie Peake’s paintings. I like to collect things from people I know but also ancient art and pieces by classic artists or big international ones like Ai Weiwei.

And then we’ll go home. A new thing we’ve started is night walks. It’s a nice way to end the weekend, walking across a hill in the darkness with the children and dogs. It’s quite primordial, you feel very hunter-gatherer and time just slips away into another age. We’ll finish up at Manna in Primrose Hill, my favourite local restaurant and one of the only vegan restaurants in London where the food is actually delicious. I like the lettuce-leaf tacos, Thai green curry and raw carrot cake. Or we’ll make it up to Woodlands in Hampstead, which serves Indian vegetarian and vegan food in large portions. I’ll have Tandoori parathas, spicy smoked aubergine and dahi vadas: fried ground‑lentil doughnuts the size of your head. It’s fun – and good for my Instagram account.


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