On June 12, John Still, a private collector from Edinburgh, walked along a deserted Bond Street to arrive at the doors of the Fine Art Society at 6am, just a minute ahead of a second enthusiastic collector.
They had come for the selling exhibition of the Andrew
McIntosh Patrick Collection, and although they had a 12-hour wait
ahead of them before the doors opened, Mr Still said the time flew
by thanks to the wonderful company.
By 6pm, the queue numbered approximately 60 people, including a
number of leading London art dealers.
Mr McIntosh Patrick worked for The Fine Art Society from 1954
until his retirement in 2004, and began collecting with his modest
salary soon after he joined as a gallery assistant. Half a century
on, he has decided to sell his collection of fine and decorative
He has already dispersed his impressive holding of Christopher
Dresser metalwares through the Edinburgh saleroom Lyon and Turnbull
in 2005. Now, breaking from the tradition of selling dealer's stock
through an auction house, he offered the bulk of his remaining
collection at the F.A.S. on a first-come-first-served basis, in an
exhibition running until July 5. The show comprised 170 paintings,
sculptures and works on paper and 150 pieces of furniture and
decorative art reflecting his passion for Scottish painting, the
Aesthetic, the Arts and Crafts movement and his love of North
Africa, where he now plans to spend much of the year.
Within two hours of the doors opening, over 200 works - two-thirds
of the collection - had sold to the tune of £1.6m. One private
buyer paid £135,000 for The Morning Paper by Sir James Guthrie,
which Mr McIntosh Patrick purchased for £32 in a London auction in
"The things were all bought for what they looked like, not because
of what they were going to be. I never thought of selling them, so
I never thought of the value of them," he said.
By Stephanie Harris
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