Christie’s South Kensington saleroom in London.

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When you purchased Christie’s I was delighted that someone with a great interest in the fine and decorative arts was our new owner.

At that time I was chairman of CSK. The majority of the staff were young and they worked long hours. They were extremely loyal and it was, on the whole, a happy place.

On March 7 I took some objects for sale to CSK and talked to members of the staff who were most helpful and showed the greatest enthusiasm for their forthcoming sales.

On March 8, the staff were told that they would be made redundant and the same fate was being told to members of the departments at King Street and elsewhere.

I imagine that you are fully aware of the misery, despair and desolation that this will entail.

Executors of an estate expect an auction house to deal with the entire contents of a home. Christie’s, in London, will in the future find it difficult to offer this service.

It is imperative that every object should be described correctly. This is so obvious that it should not have to be stated.

External experts needed

When in the future Christie’s is involved in a ‘head to head’ battle with another auction house, particularly relating to an ‘in house’, or ‘on the premises’ house sale, the opposition will waste no time in pointing out that Christie’s may have to hire outside experts to catalogue and value the contents.

I fear that your actions could gravely harm Christie’s in London, the home of its birth. I would hate it if Christie’s in England does not continue to prosper.

I am therefore writing to you in the hope that you may reconsider the redundancies and closures. Then it can continue to prosper for ever. Alternatively you could consider the sale of the entire company, which would leave it in its pristine condition.