Sotheby's auction house is set to unveil the private collection of iconic pop band, Queen's frontman Freddie Mercury, which has remained untouched for thirty years at Garden Lodge in Kensington, West London. Mercury purchased the Georgian-style brick villa in 1980 and filled it with works of art, including Victorian paintings, Japanese art, and examples of the glassmaker's art, along with a trove of personal belongings, including handwritten lyrics and costumes worn on stage. The month-long exhibition will be held in Sotheby's London galleries from 4th August to 5th September 2023, culminating in six auctions in September, each devoted to a different aspect of Mercury's life, public and private. Before the London exhibition, highlights from the collection will be exhibited in New York, Los Angeles, and Hong Kong in June.
Mary Austin, one of Mercury's closest friends, has treasured and cared for the collection over the last three decades. She said that it was important for her to do this in a way that she felt Mercury would have loved, and there was nothing he loved more than an auction. Austin added that Mercury was an intelligent collector who showed that there was beauty and fun to be found in everything.
The exhibition at Sotheby's will showcase all 1,500 items from Garden Lodge in a sequence of immersive galleries devoted to different aspects of Mercury's life, including the costumes he wore on stage, handwritten lyrics, and fine and decorative arts. The exhibition will culminate in six dedicated auctions in September. The first auction will be a live evening sale on 6 September, followed by two more live auctions dedicated to Mercury's life on 7th and 8th September.
Three online auctions will run alongside the live auctions, with one shining a light on Japanese art that was an important part of Mercury's collection. The auctions will feature a representative cross-section of the most significant items in the collection. The collection is expected to attract a lot of attention from music and art enthusiasts, with Sotheby's setting up touring exhibitions in New York, Los Angeles, and Hong Kong in June.
The month-long exhibition will open on 4 August and close on what would have been Mercury's 77th birthday, 5th September. Austin said that the years had passed, and it was time for her to take the difficult decision to close this chapter in her life. She added that she hoped the auction would be an opportunity to share all the many facets of Mercury's unique and beautiful spirit and for the world to celebrate and understand more about him. Mercury was not only a musician but also a global cultural phenomenon whose creativity and unique spirit continue to inspire millions.