A sun-drenched dachshund called Charlie was one of the first to enjoy an exhibition of deckchairs unveiled in London's Hyde Park yesterday, each one dreamed up by artists and celebrities including Tracey Emin and Joanna Lumley.
The colourful designs, launched by the Royal Parks Foundation under the name Deckchair Dreams 2008, are part of a collection of 700 chairs produced to raise money for the capital's eight Royal Parks.
Some 23 artists and celebrities – also including Marc Quinn, Keith Tyson and Matthew Williamson – each designed a special deckchair, with the original 250 limited editions expected to fetch record prices at auction in aid of the parks.
The oldest designer is Fleur Cowles, 98, a London-based American who was a friend of Picasso and Lucian Freud.
Raymond Briggs, the author and illustrator of the children's books The Snowman and Fungus the Bogeyman, is among those who took part, along with six schools and the Household Cavalry, one of whose recruits, Tim Pugh, designed a chair.
The deckchairs are open for use by anyone at a minimal charge of £2 for a four-hour rest. Sara Lom, the Royal Parks Foundation chief executive, said: "We will be rolling out 700 designer deckchairs across four central Royal Parks between June and October for everyone to sit and enjoy. This fabulous art adventure raises vital funds to protect and enhance the 5,000 acres of London's Royal Parks and helps to conserve their precious trees, monuments and wildlife."
The spots in which members of the public can enjoy the chairs over the summer are Green Park, St James's Park, Regent's Park, Finsbury Square and Hyde Park.
Proceeds from the originals and copies – available for £86 – will go to the Deckchair Dreams fund, which has, so far, raised £150,000 for the parks. The originals will be auctioned next Tuesday at a City event hosted by the scheme's sponsors, Bloomberg.