Sale: The Jeffrey Archer Sale: Decades of Collecting
Location: Christie’s, 85 Old Brompton Road, London SW7, tel: +44 (0)20 7930 6074; www.christies.com
Date: Tuesday at 2pm. On view, Saturday and Sunday, 11am-5pm; Monday, 9am-4.30pm
Need to know: Jeffrey Archer, the bestselling novelist and former MP who served two years in jail for perjury, hopes to raise more than £5m by offloading part of his extensive art collection. Archer celebrated his 70th birthday in April, an event that he says “prompts a certain degree of thought and realisation”. As a result, he gave his wife and children the pick of the collection and donated further pieces to the Ashmolean museum in Oxford and the Fitzwilliam museum in Cambridge. Money raised from the works consigned for this 101-lot Christie’s sale will go to Cambridge University Hospitals, the National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Youth Ballet and the British Library. The night before, Archer will swing the gavel at Christie’s King Street headquarters for an invitation-only charity auction, at which lots will include the stopwatch that timed Roger Bannister’s record-breaking four-minute mile and a handbag donated by Lady Thatcher.
Highlights: Archer has been collecting art for more than 50 years and even dabbled in the trade as a business partner of the Mayfair-based Neffe-Degandt gallery. As a result, he has been able to decorate his house in the Cambridgeshire village of Grantchester and his riverside apartment in south London with works by the likes of Edouard Vuillard, LS Lowry and Andy Warhol. The highlight of the sale is a rather bleak Monet oil depicting a section of the river Seine near Vétheuil, which could fetch up to £1.7m. Alfred Sisley’s “Pont de l’Orvanne” from 1888 is offered at £300,000-£500,000, with two Vuillard interiors each being similarly estimated. A Rodin bronze, “L’enfant prodigue”, (£500,000-£800,000) is the most valuable of half a dozen sculptures on offer, which also include Dame Elisabeth Frink’s “Rolling over Horse” (£120,000- £180,000) and Sydney Harpley’s delightful “Swan Lake” (£15,000-£20,000). The sale opens with a selection of more affordable works with estimates from £1,500, including drawings by Vuillard, Pierre Bonnard, Henri Matisse and Raoul Dufy.