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

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Anthony Coleridge, who joined Christie’s in 1962 and ran CSK from 1987-2001, asks that the planned closure of the Old Brompton Street saleroom be reconsidered.

Alternatively, he suggests Pinault “could consider the sale of the entire company which would leave it in its pristine condition.”

The hard-hitting letter, part published on page 71, accuses the company of “decimating” the departments that “have been the backbone of the firm since Christie’s was founded 250 years ago”.

Coleridge, 82, writes: “During the 40 years or so that I was at Christie’s, I found that a successful sale handled by one of these departments very often led to further sales. Executors of an estate expect an auction house to deal with the entire contents. Christie’s in London will in the future find it difficult to offer this service.”

He told ATG “the South Kensington redundancies are a very sad episode in the history of Christie’s”.

‘Leading platform’

A Christie’s spokeswoman declined to give details about department cuts due to an ongoing consultation process, but 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 Gui l laume Cerutti. He announced the start of a costcutting process in March that included the closure of CSK and its Amsterdam branch.