Christie’s South Kensington, 5th September 2013



When I first heard that this September 5th Christie’s South Kensington sale would be on view during August I was slightly sceptical for I know that when collectors have a long time to ponder a potential purchase there is a possibility, as cold reason takes over from initial enthusiasm, that they may change their mind.  I have known some revise downwards the sum they are prepared to bid up to, or even decide not to bid at all. 

 However having viewed this sale twice I do not see that happening, rather I see potential bidders getting more and more excited.  Rightly so, for there is a cornucopia of items to tempt and beguile collectors and interior designers.

 The auction is perhaps best summed up in the words of Charlotte Young, Head of Sale: Each lot has been selected as either visually striking or with an intriguing story to tell, and many have never before been seen at auction.

It is almost invidious to try and select particular pieces from among the hundred and fifty-five lots on offer but I will try and give a taste of the objects, pictures and furniture that make this sale exciting.

image029Among prehistoric items is this easily recognisable Triceratops skull (£150,000 – £250,000). Who can quarrel with living with a herbivore dinosaur?


Robots may of course present more of a problem to some but this 1957 Cygan giant (8 foot) robot is a true and imposing relic of the atomic age (£8,000 – 12,000).

image007 (1) 

Another large object is the rare North Italian Taxidermy Ostrich, dated 1785 (£8,000 – 12,000) which still has its purpose-built  glazed case.

image005 (1)

Somewhat smaller are eight of Francis Bacon’s paint brushes (£20,000 – £25,000) which were a gift from the painter to fellow artist, Clive Barker, in 1978. They worked together in the 1960s and 70s.


Even smaller are these three miniature mixed metal Architectural Brooches (£1,500-£2,000) 9935_77_THREE MIXED METAL MINIATURE ARCHITECTURAL BROOCHES

in the form of a Venetian campanile, a medieval-style tent and a silver Palladian villa. They were created by Vicki Ambery-Smith (B.1955).

 Among the pictures is a 1932 painting of a bearded lady with an ostrich fan by Hélène Detroyat (French, 1899-1951), which to some will evoke memories of Kenny Everett (£3,000-5,000). 9935_28_A BEARDED LADY HOLDING AN OSTRICH FEATHER FAN, HELENE DETROYAT

There is also a selection of photographs by celebrity photographer Bob Carlos Clarke, who was known for his highly stylised erotic imagery. Adult Females Attack Without Provocation  2004 (£7,000 – £9,000) is shown here. By the way, a group of rarely seen celebrity portraits by him have recently been donated by the Bob Carlos Clarke Foundation to the National Portrait Gallery.


An eclectic selection of furniture and decorative arts in the sale will appeal to private collectors as well as interior designers

looking for eye-catching items.  However do not be too tempted to slump down quickly onto this inviting Chesterfield suite

(£4,000-£6,000) as it is made of fibreglass re-inforced cast concrete!

9935_142_Concrete sofa           9935_142_Cast concrete arm chairs

A full catalogue can be viewed online by following the link: :

All images courtesy of Christie’s.

One comment on “Christie’s South Kensington, 5th September 2013

  1. John Kirkwood says:

    Hilarious !

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