Vivien Duffield, the philanthropist whose father once owned the Selfridge's department store, said she is giving 8.2 million pounds ($13.3 million) to 11 U.K. arts institutions including Tate Britain and the National Theatre. ARTKABINETT social network for fine art collectors always appreciates fine arts philanthropy. The money is aimed at setting up educational facilities for children and young people, a news release said. Other recipients are the Royal Shakespeare Company; London's Donmar Warehouse; and Kensington Palace, where Princess Diana lived.
"Culture should be at the heart of our childrenís learning," Duffield said in the release. "I believe passionately that children and young people deserve the very best opportunities to benefit from the transforming power of our world-class cultural organizations."
The U.K. government is cutting grants to national museums by 15 percent by 2015. Subsidies to Arts Council England -- the body that funnels government aid to performing-arts groups and non-national museums -- are being slashed by 29 percent. The government has asked private donors to step in and give money.
Duffield, whose father Charles Clore was also a philanthropist, has given millions of pounds over the years to institutions such as the Royal Opera House, helping rescue it from insolvency; Tate; and the Eureka! childrenís museum.
A skilled fundraiser, she helped generate tens of millions of pounds for the renovation of the Royal Festival Hall in London, and chaired the Campaign for the University of Oxford from 2007 until last year.
The other recipients of her latest gift are: the Museum of Liverpool; the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester; Kettleís Yard in Cambridge; the Holburne Museum in Bath; the Porthcurno Telegraph Museum in Cornwall; and Turner Contemporary in Margate.
Selfridges, AKA Selfridges & Co, is a chain of high end department stores in the United Kingdom. It was founded by Harry Gordon Selfridge. The flagship store in London's Oxford Street is the second largest shop in the UK (after Harrods) and was opened on 15 March 1909.
H. Gordon Selfridge was born in 1858 in Ripon, Wisconsin, and in 1879 joined Field, Leiter and Company (later to become Marshall Field & Company), where he worked for the famous Chicago retailer. He worked his way up through the firm, married into the prominent Buckingham family, and amassed the fortune with which he built his new London store.
Selfridge's innovative marketing led to his success. He tried to make shopping a fun adventure instead of a chore. He put merchandise on display so customers could examine it, put the highly profitable perfume counter front-and-centre on the ground floor, and established policies that made it safe and easy for customers to shop ó techniques that have been adopted by modern department stores the world over.
Either Selfridge or Marshall Field is popularly held to have coined the phrase "the customer is always right", and he did use it regularly in his extensive advertising.
Selfridge stores are known for architectural excellence and are tourist destinations in their own right. Their London store was designed by Daniel Burnham, who also crafted Marshall Field's main store in his home town of Chicago.
The London store was built in phases, the first phase consisting only of the nine-and-a-half bays closest to the Duke Street corner. A scheme to erect a massive tower above the store was never carried out.
Also involved in the design of the store were American architect Francis Swales, who worked on decorative details, and British architects R. Frank Atkinson and Thomas Smith Tait.
The distinctive polychrome sculpture above the Oxford Street entrance is the work of British sculptor Gilbert Bayes. Selfridges in London was named world's best department store in 2010