Spread the love

Andrew Edmunds, a last bastion of Old Soho

Instagram @andrew.edmunds

Tatler’s art editor, the Countess of Rosslyn and the founder of the annual London Original Print Fair, remembers him with great fondness. ‘Andrew set exacting standards of connoisseurship, both for himself and others. He often complained after an art fair that people had bought all his best prints and left him with the “dross” – but I have seen him take a print off the wall rather than sell it to someone whom he didn’t regard as a worthy buyer,’ Rosslyn laughs. ‘Many of our early committee meetings, of which Andrew was a founder member, took place at the Academy, accompanied by the tasting of extremely fine wine.’ Much has been written about that wine list, both extensive and with the most minimal mark-ups known to mankind.

Edmunds once said: ‘my idea of heaven is a good Sauternes’, so Tatler’s former editor, the famously dazzling illustrator Mark Boxer chose the phrase to illustrate his cartoon of the restaurateur. Perched between the offices of Condé Nast and Hearst, it became a glorified canteen as well as the actual office of the Literary Review and the Erotic Review. ‘My staff and I practically lived at the club,’ says Pelling. ‘This patronage included occasionally letting me reproduce a particularly ribald print he’d uncovered in a sale.’

Jeremy Lee remembers an especially good meal at the 18th century townhouse Edmunds’ acquired in the late 1970s. ‘On the menu board on the wall was written, quite simply, “Grouse for lunch”. Andrew’s eyes twinkled as he took his place at table and I do not recall any of us drawing breath except to savour the wines poured from bottles that seemed to vanish as swiftly as the hours.’

‘I cannot bear the thought that I won’t walk down Lexington Street to see Andrew sitting outside the restaurant with a glass of wine, summoning me to see a delectably filthy example of Regency satire,’ says Pelling. A bon vivant until the last.

Andrew Edmunds, art dealer and restaurateur, was born on 16 September, 1943. He died on 15 September, 2022, aged 79