After 42 years at the centre of the London art and antiques scene, the last chapter of the auction house on Old Brompton Road was always bound to be an emotional occasion.
What began quietly at 10am with auctioneer William Porter taking to the rostrum to a ripple of applause ended six hours later with a large crowd of current and former staff and well-wishers filling CSK’s Hanger saleroom for the final time.
Nic McElhatton conducted the last 100 lots of the sale, dressed in black frockcoat and tricorn hat in the manner of the firm’s founder James Christie as he mounted the rostrum steps.
Before offering the last two lots, both items of furniture from the CSK boardroom being sold for charity, McElhatton made a speech to mark the closure of the “unique and vibrant hub” and to thank clients and the “incredibly talented and dedicated staff”.
The final sale at CSK cames on the day that Christie’s released figures showing a 29% increase on auction sales for the first six months of this year to £2.2bn.
The results statement indicated that, since 2014, 62% of buyers from the South Kensington saleroom have “been active across other parts of the business, of which 46% have registered, bought or bid at our headquarters in King Street and 19% online”.
More on the closure of CSK in next week’s Print Edition.