160 Million Year Shopping Spree
Fortnum & Mason and Ancient Art Display Fossils for Piccadilly Shoppers
A special report by Paleozoic.org correspondent

Founded in 1707, and standing grandly at 181 Piccadilly, Fortnum & Mason has long been one of London, England's most prestigious department stores. With an appointment to H.M. the Queen, over 1,000 "own label" products, and a world-famous Ground Floor selection of exquisite foods, Fortnum & Mason is accustomed to presenting fine and unusual products to its discerning clientele.

However, shoppers visiting the store this summer will have a chance to enjoy a display that is unusual even by Fortnum and & Mason's high standards. An exhibition and sale in the third floor Gift Department, entitled "At the beginning . . ." runs from 30th July to 1st September, and presents an impressive display of fossils and minerals.

181 Piccadilly, London W1

Experienced fossil collectors will be familiar with many of the items on show, including ammonites from Morocco, England, Russia, and Madagascar; ichthyosaur vertebrae; petrified wood; and megalodon teeth. Shoppers with deeper pockets or a taste for rare and high quality specimens might be tempted by a massive museum quality polished ammonite from Scunthorpe (a few hours' drive north of London); a dinosaur egg from China, sitting regally on a bed of red velvet; or a superb complete Oligocene oreodont skeleton.

Presentation is everything, especially for a prestigious Piccadilly department store, and the spotlight illumination and carefully-arranged tabletops that make up this exhibition are more reminiscent of a small museum than a department store.

This is the second annual "At the beginning . . ." display and — as with the initial October 2000 exhibition — it is arranged in association with London antiquities and aftifact dealers, Ancient Art

Tabletop display of Moroccan ammonites A complete oreodont skeleton

"At the beginning . . ."    Fossil Collection
Fortnum & Mason, 181 Piccadilly, London W1
Third Floor Gift Department
30th July to 1st September, 2001
Telephone: (0207) 734 8040