A highlight of Christie’s summer sale season in London will be their 350-lot sale of the collection of the late Hon Simon Sainsbury, scion of the famous retailing family.
The June 18 auction is expected to make around £15m, with
proceeds benefiting The Monument Trust which Simon Sainsbury set up
The self-effacing businessman who, along with his brothers Tim
and John, built the family grocery firm into a multi-billion pound
business, used his personal fortune to become one of the country's
most generous philanthropists.
Although people tend to remember the high-profile gesture of
funding with his brothers the National Gallery's Sainsbury wing, he
also made donations to the British Museum, the Tate, the V&A
and various charitable causes.
This continued after his death in 2006, with his estate making
major bequests of paintings to the Tate and the National
But he also carefully nurtured and refined a private collection
of classic Georgian furniture, pottery and English and French
paintings, which he used to furnish Woolbeding House, the Georgian
home he leased from the National Trust. His aim was to create "an
English Arcadia" and it is this material that will be the subject
of the auction for his Monument charity.
Simon Sainsbury's particular tastes were for classic restrained
Georgian furniture by celebrated cabinetmakers and 17th and 18th
century English delftware.
According to Christie's deputy chairman Charles Cator, he
preferred understated, top quality pieces, finely patinated wood
accompanied by a history and provenance like the Mayhew and Ince
commode shown here, which he purchased at Christie's.
Buying either directly or through the specialist trade, he
purchased from many of the blue-chip, single-owner auctions held
over the past quarter century, such as the Moller and Messer sales
of furniture and the Lipski and Kassebaum collections of
His selection of British paintings similarly features some of
the best known names from the last 400 years, from Joshua Reynolds,
George Stubbs and Joseph Wright of Derby to Stanley Spencer.
The French paintings from Simon Sainsbury's collection will be
offered the following week in the auctioneers' mixed-owner
Impressionist and Modern sale, but all the works will be on view
together in specially created room setting displays prior to both
By Anne Crane