Last Sale at Christie's South Kensington

The NY Times has an interesting article on the closing of the West London, Kensington showroom of Christie's. The closing was announced awhile back, but the last sale was last week.

The article notes that UK auctioneers Cheswick is now opening an auction showroom in the area to fill the void left by Christie's. One of the interesting comments was the need for interesting consignments and not basic furniture, the rather brutal quote on the new type of local collectors “They don’t want big lumps of brown furniture.”

The below block quote is only a portion of the article, so click through the source link for the full article.

The NY Times reports
A crowd of about 200 people gathered in West London on Wednesday afternoon to witness the sale of a late 20th-century Georgian-style dining table, bringing to an end 42 years of auctions at Christie’s salesroom in South Kensington.

The last of 466 lots in a sale of furniture and other objects, the 12-foot 8-inch-long walnut table had been used by the auction house for board meetings. With the table’s proceeds marked for charity, it carried an estimate of 2,000 pounds to 3,000 pounds, or about $2,600 to $3,900.

But first, Nic McElhatton, chairman of Christie’s South Kensington, tearfully addressed the audience (made up mostly of past and present employees) to say a “fond farewell to a dear friend,” referring to the salesroom, which is being closed to make way for live and online sales at the auction house’s headquarters in the St. James’s district of Central London.

The table was bought in the room by Julia Delves Broughton, a director at Christie’s, for £2,500 with fees.

The result, somewhat anticlimactic, encapsulated how much the art and antiques trade — and interiors themselves — have changed in recent years.

“More and more people want funky postwar design, pictures and decorative objects — and maybe one signature antique,” said William Rouse, managing director of Chiswick Auctions, a suburban London salesroom that is aiming to capitalize on Christie’s departure from South Kensington, one of the city’s most affluent neighborhoods. “They don’t want big lumps of brown furniture.”

Chiswick Auctions holds live weekly sales covering about 16 collecting areas, with most of the lots estimated at £100 to £1,000. Trying to move more upmarket, the company has leased a space five minutes’ walk from Christie’s former salesroom. The venue, as yet undisclosed, is set to open on Sept. 1 and will be used to display higher-quality items, with 10 former Christie’s employees recruited to run the expanded operation.
Source: The NY Times 

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