Christie's South Kensington is to close by the end of the year and staff in London are in consultation.

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In an open letter to billionaire owner François Pinault, Anthony Coleridge has warned the plans will “gravely harm Christie’s in London”.

Coleridge, who ran CSK between 1987 and 2001, criticised the move to “decimate” its decorative art departments and called for the planned closure to be reconsidered.

He said: “Alternatively you could consider the sale of the entire company which would leave it in its pristine condition.”

CSK Letter

An extract of the letter from Anthony Coleridge to Christie's billionaire owner François Pinault regarding the closure of Christie's South Kensington.

In response a Christie’s spokeswoman denied jobs in its decorative arts departments were most at risk, as Coleridge claimed, but said it “cannot disclose details” due to a consultation process.

In a statement it said: “Christie’s is still committed to offering multiple sales across multiple categories both in King Street and online, and we believe we offer and will continue to offer the leading platform for sellers and buyers.”

Christie’s in the UK is run by Frenchman Guillaume Cerutti who joined from Sotheby’s in France last year. Christie's announced the start of a cost cutting process in March that puts 250 jobs at risk in the UK and the closure of its Amsterdam branch. The trade raised concerns about the steps.

Retail and luxury goods tycoon Pinault bought Christie’s in 1998.

For more on this story see ATG's print edition (2287) next week.