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Shopping London: Affordable art from acclaimed British artist Rory Dobner

Shopping London: Affordable art from acclaimed British artist Rory Dobner

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DSC00564While shopping the housewares department at London’s Fortnum and Mason department store, this mischievous fox caught my eye.

DSCF2871The fox tea towel was part of a display area filled with similar intricate ink designs on items ranging from 22-karat gold-rimmed bone china, to ceramic candles and mugs– part of a new Fortnum and Mason housewares collection based on the ink drawings of acclaimed English artist Rory Dobner.

cat china plate hat monocle

Loved these bone china plates, but they would have been a tricky souvenir to get home.


How can you resist a cat with a monocle?

Fortunately, I found this china cat tray in a pack-friendly wood version (£30), making it the perfect souvenir.


Rory has exhibited his paintings and sculptures all over the world, his original pieces selling for tens of thousands of dollars. Fortunately, Rory’s Fortnum’s collection is a lot more affordable, with prices starting at £15.

The unassuming artist happened to be in Fortnum’s that day, casually hanging out by his collection for its debut.  I was thrilled when Rory offered to sign the tray I picked out.

DSCF3077While Rory’s designs for Fortnum’s are exclusive to the store, he also collaborates with Liberty of London on other designs, including these “playfully eccentric” individual letter tiles (£39.50).


Hot Dog bone China mug, £15.50.

And these anthropomorphic animals designs.


serving tray souvenir londonI love the whimsical design of wooden cat tray souvenir– it’s a great way to bring back the work of a real artist, without the high price tag.

Have you found affordable art souvenirs to bring home?  Tell us about your favorites!

Shop for Rory’s designs at:

Fortnum and Mason (also online for armchair travelers)
181 Picadilly, London

All photos of Rory Dobner’s work taken with permission of the artist.

Want to read about more London shopping and souvenirs?  Start here:
Why this New Yorker loves the London Underground (and my picks from the London Transport Museum Shop)
A walk through the Harry Potter gift shop at Platform 9 3/4, London

Fashion Forward Brits Declare Love for the Onesie– Not just for Babies
Big Ben, the British Flag and a Telephone Box:  Why we love British Kitsch
I got it at Primani, dahling.  Why frugal tourists love London’s Primark.

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Thursday 26th of December 2013

Ohhh, I missed it! I must visit F&M as soon as I am back from Japan!! X

Kristin Francis

Saturday 28th of December 2013

Hope you are enjoying your family time in Japan! Looking forward to all your posts!


Thursday 26th of December 2013

Kristin how perfect for animal lovers especially. Now I would love to see a photo of the tray in use...I am imagining the tray covered in beverages at a gathering and as the drinks are taken off one by one the whimsical cat appears. Fun!

Kristin Francis

Saturday 28th of December 2013

Great suggestion-- I haven't hosted a soiree since I got the tray-- I'll update the post when I do!