Damien Hirst was so pleased with an Italian meal that he handed over a quick sketch as a tip – an artwork now valued at £250,000.
Giovanni Fracassi, boss of the Da Ivo restaurant in Venice, was stunned when the British artist, 51, asked for a pen and paper after his plate of duck pasta last week. He said: “A lot of celebrities come here and Damien has dined here before so I was not so surprised to see him.
“But most don’t leave such an extravagant tip. Before he finished, he sketched the design you can see on my wall today. Word travelled fast about what happened and in no time at all I was inundated with offers.
“The biggest was £250,000 from a Japanese collector, but I refused as it would not be right to sell a gift.
“But in the meantime the insurance bill for my restaurant has gone up.” Hirst’s signed drawing shows a shark – like his world-famous £6.5million pickled tiger shark from the 1990s – swimming next to a sketch of Giovanni. He also happily posed for photos.