In some houses, it is perfectly normal to walk into a room and find silver picture frames filled with family photos on display. Step inside Jay Rutland’s home, near London’s Kensington Gardens, and you’ll see that this interior decoration tip has been taken to the nth degree.
They’re everywhere, on shelves in the hall, on the wall overlaid with diamonds, on tabletops; I count 40 silver frames in one room alone.
But his is no ordinary family: his wife is Tamara Ecclestone, daughter of Formula One supremo Bernie, and the little girl in the pictures is their daughter, Sofia, four.
The Rutlands moved into the house in 2013, after a whirlwind romance: “We met in January, moved in together in March, and married pretty quickly.” Now the three of them live in the five-bedroom house with their 10 dogs.
It’s not just family pictures in frames that fill the Rutland residence, but serious art, too. In the sitting room, alongside Sofia’s toys, there are two pieces by Tracey Emin.
In the double-height hall hangs a giant crinkled one dollar bill installation, a present from his father-in-law.
Rutland, 37, a former banker with HSBC and Credit Suisse, is the creative director of Maddox Gallery, a contemporary art gallery with five outposts – four in London, and one in Gstaad, Switzerland. Art is now his stock in trade. When we meet, he is terribly excited: a new gallery is about to open in Los Angeles.
Rutland bought his first piece of art aged 21 – a Banksy, for about £8,000. “He’s one of those artists where even if you don’t like all of his work, you’ll find one that resonates with you, one that will make you laugh,” he says. “I like art that has a comedic and textual element to it.”
Since that first Banksy, he has accumulated about 50 other pieces ranging from Warhols, one of which he has in the bedroom, to British artists such as Harland Miller and the Connor Brothers, both of whom Maddox represents.
His Instagram, where he has 114,000 followers, is awash with inspirational quotes. He tries to buy pieces with similar messages himself, and has just bought a Harland Miller print which reads: “Tonight we make history, ps I can’t be there”. Two years ago, he bought another of his pieces for Tamara, saying: “Love saves the day”.
Art collecting, for Rutland, is about enjoyment. “I’ve never sold a piece from my collection, but what I have bought on the whole is worth more than what I paid for it.”
He has a budget of £10,000 to £30,000 per artwork, even though his wife is worth a reported £230 million.
It is the Canadian artist Richard Hambleton who he is most excited about right now. Hambleton, famed for his “Shadowman” paintings, died last year. “He was the founder of street art,” says Rutland. “The first to use the street walls as his canvas.”
The difference between Hambleton and artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring, with whom he has been associated, is that they hit the heights, and he didn’t. He was once big news, says Rutland. “He turned down Andy Warhol to paint his portrait, and did the Venice Biennale in 1984 and 1988. He went to Germany and painted 18 of his shadowmen on the east side of the Berlin Wall, and then went back a year later to do the west side.”
Rutland hopes that the Maddox exhibition will open up a new chapter for Hambleton. And, with the LA gallery, there’s the opportunity to speak to a new market, too. The West Coast is quite chilled “and people are less spoilt for choice,” he says. “In New York, there’s an art fair every week, it’s quite a battleground.”
In LA, larger works sell more easily. “In New York, like London, everybody is tight on wall space, so the bigger pieces, maybe 10ft by 10ft, tend not to sell as well.”
London’s art scene has struggled recently because of the fall in the value of the pound against the dollar. He says he didn’t vote in the referendum. “My father-in-law was very pro-Brexit, and the man is a genius, but other people I know that are equally wealthy are very anti-Brexit,” he adds. “I couldn’t form a strong opinion either way.”
On top of all of this, he runs a property business too, buying, doing up, and selling property in east London, all residential work.
“Property isn’t really a passion if I’m honest, but it pays the bills. We tend to work in east London – Hackney, Bow, Poplar, Hoxton. We’ve got a decent-sized development in Walthamstow, which has about 20 apartments. We are trying to buy in areas where there’s scope for price increases. Not in west London, because it’s too expensive.”
Richard Hambleton’s prints will be at Maddox Gallery in Westbourne Grove from Sept 18