Last weekend I took along an old beau to the LAPADA Art and Antiques Fair in Berkeley Square. Celebrating its 40th anniversary, the fair has established itself as one of the highlights in the calendar and attracts buyers and collectors from all over the world. Although my small London flat is decorated with antiques, on this occasion I went in with a view of 'look but don't touch'. I was certainly not expecting that we would be able to afford some of the glorious offerings from the variety of furniture, paintings, jewellery, silverware and fine art on display. How wrong I was.


I have to confess that I had persuaded my handsome companion to come with me on the promise that there was a selection of bars inside, including one by my favourite Mayfair haunt Mr Fogg. However it was a print on the Rebecca Hossack Art Gallery stand which caught our attention. Phil Shaw is an artist whom I'd noticed and admired before. His prints of books, each with a title that wittily plays on a theme of irony and humour are technically brilliant and intellectually amusing. If John Humphreys could swap Radio 4 for Art, this is what he would produce.

As someone with more than one thousand books, the idea of a print of even more books is attractive. Shaw's most recognisable prints are based on London's tube lines and are very much on my 'want one' list, but the new picture displayed was a monochrome display of books all with the title 'The Truth About...'. The Truth About Women, The Truth About Accounting, The Truth About Law were some of the more sensible titles with The Honest Truth About Lying With Statistics and The Truth About Breast Implants being some of our other favourites. Needless to say for my City-based chap, this was the best art he had seen and promptly bought it.

Sitting in the upstairs bar drinking wine we toasted the purchase and talked about love and art. We reminisced about our past and talked about the present and the art we have both bought in the subsequent years.


Later on that night he texted; " Have I done the right thing by buying it?"

I told him that seeing a beautiful piece of art in a gallery is like seeing someone across a room. "Darling, art is like dating. If you've seen something you like and keep thinking about it and how it will look in your house, then it's the right art for you."

Art investment for me should be measured by pleasure. Investment your own happiness each time you look at it is worth it. "Besides," I said, "it also becomes the story of the person you are now and the story of how we bought it."

The truth about dating and art is that for a man they need an equal mix of beauty and a payback. Give them intelligence, humour and make it beautiful, and it's a winner every time. Maybe art is more like love than anything else...It's an instant desire to own it and stop anyone else having it.

So my advice for the day is this: if you can't stop thinking about that picture or that person - make them yours and you'll never regret it.

Words and photography by Kitty Buchanan-Gregory