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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 May, 2004, 15:51 GMT 16:51 UK
Saatchi 'devastated' by art blaze
Firefighters on scene of fire in Leyton, east London
The fire in Leyton, east London, started on Monday
Modern art mogul Charles Saatchi has spoken of his loss after a warehouse fire destroyed more than 100 artworks from his famous collection.

A spokeswoman for Saatchi said he was "absolutely devastated" after the works - worth millions of pounds - were lost.

She said many were Mr Saatchi's "great personal favourites" and he considered them "irreplaceable in the history of British art".

Works by Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin perished in the fire in east London.

Emin's tent - "Everyone I have ever slept with 1963-95" - and her beach hut (The Hut) perished, along with modern art by Chris Ofili, Gavin Turk and Sarah Lucas.

ARTWORKS UP IN SMOKE
Photo: Stephen White. Courtesy Jay Jopling/White Cube (London)
Tracey Emin - Everyone I Ever Slept With 1963-1995 (above)
Tracey Emin - The Last Thing I Said is Don't Leave Me Here
Chris Ofili - Afrobluff
Gavin Turk - Floater
Sarah Lucas - Down Below
Works by Patrick Caulfield, Gary Hume, Craigie Horsfield and 20 pieces by Martin Maloney were destroyed.

A piece called Hell by Jake and Dinos Chapman is also feared lost, along with works by Turner Prize winner Rachel Whiteread.

They represent some of the cream of the so-called "Britart" movement of celebrated modern artists.

The fire broke out in the early hours of Monday at art storage firm Momart's warehouse on the Cromwell industrial estate, Leyton.

Small fires were still burning on Wednesday and the area was cordoned off because there was a danger of gas cylinder explosions.

Art experts are expected to survey the damage on Thursday, but Momart director Carole Hastings said the warehouse was now "non-existent".

Firefighters on scene of fire in Leyton, east London
An exclusion zone has been placed around the industrial estate
Momart's clients include the National Gallery, Tate Modern, Tate Britain and Buckingham Palace, and the destroyed warehouse made up 5 to 10% of the company's storage capacity.

Tracey Emin's tent has 102 names sewn onto the sides including her lovers. It was nominated for the Turner Prize and Saatchi is thought to have paid 40,000 for it.

The Chapman brothers' controversial work Hell is a series of nine miniature landscapes in glass tanks depicting scenes of disaster and destruction.

Saatchi commissioned Hell for a retrospective at his gallery for a reported 500,000.


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