Bunhill: Gallery's cups do not runneth over

Click to follow
The Independent Online
SAATCHI & SAATCHI and Coopers & Lybrand are among the money-bags unlikely to be tempted in future by the siren voice of Rosa-Maria Letts, the founder and guiding spirit of the ultra-chic Accademia Italiana - not even by the lady's latest venture. This is an exhibition devoted to shoes called, appropriately enough, 'Cinderella's Revenge'. Due to open in December at Smith's Gallery in Covent Garden, it is a natural successor to the show she presented in the summer of '93 entitled 'Hurrah for the Bra'.

Their reluctance has nothing to do with the charms of the Italian-born PhD, wife of Charles Letts of diary fame, and everything to do with the fact that they were creditors of the Accademia and two of the minority who rejected the proposals for a Corporate Voluntary Arrangement last summer, under which the Accademia's creditors were offered around 70p in the pound over five years.

The CVA became inevitable because of total debts of around pounds 500,000, despite the backing of Prince Charles (who threw a fund-raising garden party), Rocco Forte and other worthies. It led to the abandonment of the mansion in Rutland Gate that the Accademia had leased from Glaxo - which has now sold the lease at a profit. The Accademia is using Smith's Galleries only until it completes negotiations for leasing the magnificent Victorian Royal College of Organists building in Kensington.

If Dr Letts' plan works - and it will if her past record has anything to do with it - the building will feature not only a gallery but also a club and restaurant, to be run by a Well- Known Restaurateur.

Future plans could even include an exhibition of paintings by an as-yet unknown artist, who has proved surprisingly reticent about her talents but was first spotted by another artist called in to paint her with her two daughters. Step forward the Rosa Bonheur of the 1990s - none other than Fergie.