Auctions United Kingdom

Olympic fever spreads to London’s auction houses

Sales centred on sport and British art and design aim to make a splash

Olympic posters by Allen Jones and David Hockney sold at Bonhams

It may traditionally be a quiet season for the art market but this summer auction houses in London are putting on a show.

Bonhams staged “The Olympic Games Sale” on Wednesday 25 July. Among lots sold was the Henry Robert “Bobby” Pearce rowing archive, which sold for £49,250 (est £30,000-£50,000) to an Australian buyer. A set of photographic prints of the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Leni Riefenstahl also sold for £3,125 (est £2,500-£3,500) and five lithographs of poster designs for the 1972 Munich Olympics by David Hockney, Tom Wesselmann, Victor Vasarely, Allen Jones and Paul Wunderlich, fetched £500 (est £400-£600). The sale collected a total £198,350 (est £275,000-£380,000), with just 36.1% sold by lot.

At Christie’s, staff drove a double-decker bus to South Kensington, which has been pedestrianised during the Olympics. The 1966 example of the Routemaster design is being displayed alongside other lots from the “The London Sale” until the auction begins on 3 September. It has an estimate of £20,000 to £30,000. The sale, which aims to celebrate “all things British”, has a total pre-sale estimate of £1m to £1.6m and also includes a selection of outfits once belonging to Margaret Thatcher, priced between £800 to £1,500 and an example of the much reproduced Second World War “Keep Calm and Carry On” poster (est £800-£1,200).

Meanwhile, Sotheby’s is hosting a series of exhibitions until 11 August, including photographs of the painter Lucian Freud from the Cecil Beaton archive, a selling exhibition of diamonds and a display considering Arab women in sport by the photographer Brigitte Lacombe, which was commissioned by the Qatar Museums Authority.

More from The Art Newspaper


Submit a comment

All comments are moderated. If you would like your comment to be approved, please use your real name, not a pseudonym. We ask for your email address in case we wish to contact you - it will not be made public and we do not use it for any other purpose.


Want to write a longer comment to this article? Email


Share this