Christie's First Auction

James Christie held his first auction on 5th December, 1766 - billed as a sale of “genuine household furniture, jewels, plate, firearms, china and a large quantity of madeira and high flavoured claret” belonging to a “Noble Personage (deceased)”.


His auction-house, Christie’s, went on to become one of the world’s leading dealers of fine art. But it took Christie many years to exploit this opportunity, which he accomplished partly by leveraging well-connected friends. His milieu included Richard Tattersall, Thomas Chipperfield, Thomas Gainsborough, Horace Walpole, Joshua Reynolds and David Garrick - a ‘Who’s Who’ of 18th century London once known as ‘Christie's Fraternity of Godparents’.


In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly explain how Christie innovated public viewings, product placement and sales technique; connect the dots between the French Revolution and Christie’s biggest successes; and reveal how much it costs to buy a two-headed taxidermied lamb… 


Further Reading:


#1800s #Arts #Person


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The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

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