A Riches to Rags Story: Guy the Fox, Dressed in Hunting Attire


Origin: English
Period: Mid Twentieth Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1950
Depth: 14.5 inches
Width: 14.5 inches
Height: 27 inches (all sitting)

Guy Payling-Wright had led a charmed life. The son of Archie PW, the celebrated Queens College writer, he grew up amidst the well-to-do and the well-educated in Chalfort-St-Clare, amidst the rich hunting grounds of Suffolk. Sassoon and Attenborough came to dinner. At Cambridge in the early 1960s, he met Quentin Blake and Michael Winner. He visited Hemingway in Spain. He wanted for nothing, living off his fathers legacy, and the odd modeling job, he was the most recognisable dandy of the fox world.

Then everything fell apart. Guy lost his looks, squandered his millions on cards and women, and destroyed his marriage by having an affair. He was diagnosed with a slow-growing brain tumor. You couldn't make this kind of thing up. (we are)

Out of money and out of hope, he found himself sitting alone in a Starbucks during a hiring drive. When a 28-year-old store manager named Crystal Thomas asks him whether he wants a job, Guy says that he does.

So begins this improbable story of, as he writes, "an old fox who tumbled out of the top of the English establishment, by chance met a young African-American porcupine from a completely different background, and came to learn what is important in life."

The sixty-something Guy sweeps the floor. He cleans toilets. He learns how to make a latte. He struggles to make the cash register work. His feet ache. He still drinks too much, and his clothes have seen better days, his boots now only made of simulated leather. But he is happy. And looking for a new home.