The One Pence Mansion — Anna Cole
Inspiration / About the Art: In early 2009, I lived in a squat comprised of two mansions side-by-side on Park Lane in London along with about thirty other people. We had a great time there and even threw a huge party with a DJ on each floor of the six-story mansion. Unfortunately, since we were in Mayfair, we were discovered quickly and made the front page of the newspapers in addition to receiving a court order.
During the madness and press coverage, a Russian guy who claimed to own the building offered to sell it to us for one penny. Not only did we take him up on his offer, we asked him to represent us in court. He claimed to be “an ambassador from the white Kingdom of Heaven” and said that “God owns all property, and therefore as His ambassador I can sell these mansions to the squatters for one penny.” The judge was not amused and we were evicted hours later. It turns out that the Duke of Westminster, one of the richest men in the UK, owned the building.
To this day, the buildings sit empty. I’m not sure the Duke is ever coming back. The most striking element of this story to me is the juxtaposition of a multi-billionaire aristocrat and a friend of mine who “spent less than a two pence over Christmas”. Is there really a reason for people to be homeless when there are literally thousands of empty buildings?
Significance of the Number: The buildings I squatted in were numbers 94 and 95.
Materials: Ink on water color paper.
Size: 5 inches x 7 inches
Price: This piece is not currently for sale: There are great reasons to purchase Penny Experiment art. If you would like to purchase The One Pence Mansion #94 or other artwork from this 100 Penny Postcard Art series, please email me and I will put you on my list to inform when this series is for sale.