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Sotheby's auction of the collection of the British aesthete Mark Birley closes with 99% of all the lots sold
Natalia Goncharova’s sketch of the Queen Of Shamakhan from Le Coq D'or from the Ballet Russes sold for £398,500 almost five times its high estimate (£60,000-£80,000). Photo: Sotheby's.
LONDON.- Crowds gathered at Sotheby’s last week to buy their own piece of the lifestyle of one of the twentieth century’s most stylish men, Mark Birley (1930-2007). The contents of Thurloe Lodge, the London home of the renowned arbiter of taste and fêted club owner doubled pre-sale expectations to sell for the combined total of £3,854,619, (est. £1,258,040 - £1,840,770). With his refined sense of style and unerring eye for detail, Mark Birley furnished Thurloe Lodge as the ultimate bachelor’s residence and gentleman’s home. Over 850 clients registered to bid for the collection, and with fierce competition both in the auction room and on the phone, over 85% of the 496 lots sold exceeded their high estimates.

Henry Wyndham, Chairman of Sotheby’s Europe commented: “The enthusiasm with which people from all corners of the globe descended on Sotheby’s today to try and obtain their own bit of Mark Birley magic, pays a most fitting tribute to his distinguished career and enviable talents. Mark’s style and way of life has an appeal which has resonated not just in London and among the clientele of his famed clubs, but also with people who may not have known him but are nonetheless inspired by his timeless elegance.”

A Selection of the Star Lots

• Natalia Goncharova’s sketch of the Queen Of Shamakhan from Le Coq D'or from the Ballet Russes sold for £398,500 almost five times its high estimate (£60,000-£80,000)

• A Large Imperial Celadon Jade Seal from the Qing Dynasty sold for £326,500 (est. £40,000-£60,000)

• Henry Herbert La Thangue’s A Study (Resting AfterThe Game) achieved £302,500

• David Hockney’s drawing of his pet dachshund Boodgie smashed the pre-sale expectations to achieve £158,000 (est. £12,000-£18,000)

• Mark Birley’s personalised Hermès Backgammon Board sold for £20,000 (est. £500-£1,000)

• The solid silver enamelled bathroom taps from Thurloe Lodge sold for £2,625 (est. £300-£500)

• Mark’s Birley’s personalised novelty Bulgari and Links of London pocket watch sold with a Jaeger Lecoultre travel alarm for £3,000 (est. £150-£250)

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