Portrait of an art lover

Art lover Louise Potter has a dream hobby – buying paintings by old masters with other people’s money…

And it’s led to her getting her own portrait hung in London’s National Gallery.

Louise, a former Businesswoman of the Year and owner of Buxton’s popular No 6 Tea Rooms, is a member of the Art Fund, a national charity which raises money to buy paintings vital to the nation’s heritage which are in danger of being sold abroad.

The charity used her photograph in a giant poster in the Royal Academy to promote its work, with the slogan: “Louise Potter. Serious collector of teapots, cake recipes and Monets.”

“I’ve always been interested in art and this was just a way of reaching like-minded people in Derbyshire,” said Louise, who is one of 80,000 Art Fund members who help museums and galleries buy art which everyone can enjoy.

“They go all round the country buying art to put into museums,” said Louise, who won the nation’s top business award for turning around The Old Hall Hotel, England’s oldest continuously run hotel which will soon become part of the refurbished The Crescent operation.

“It’s a wonderful charity, and there is art in Buxton Museum which is Arts Funded.”

Louise is also sponsoring the Buxton International Festival’s talk on Gainsborough in its Book Weekend on November 24 when historian James Hamilton will reveal how he wrote his highly-praised biography of the famous society portrait artist and hard-living rake.

The author’s portrait of the artist also gives a fascinating picture of his time in the riveting tale of how a country lad married a duke’s daughter, became the top society-portrait painter in Britain and counted George III and Queen Charlotte among his friends.

“Gainsborough was such a fantastic painter. It’s not just about paintings – it’s also about history and culture,” said Louise.