Around 1500 items of Mercury’s life.
Freddie Mercury’s private collection will be on show and sale at Sotheby’s: around 1.500 items of Mercury’s life, kept in his residence at Garden Lodge in Kensington, considered his kingdom, and still intact. “I like to be surrounded by splendid things. I want to live the Victoria life, surrounded by exquisite clutter”, Freddie Mercury said. Yet, while Mercury captivated audiences across the globe with his music, in his beloved home he fashioned his own private world, assembling a collection that reflected and fired his expansive imagination.
His residence at Garden Lodge in Kensington
For some 30 years, Garden Lodge has remained almost entirely as Mercury left it, complete with the many works of art that spoke to him so deeply: from Victorian paintings and striking works on paper by the greatest artists of the 20th century, to the finest examples of the glass maker’s art (a medium he loved beyond measure) and other beautiful objects; and from the exceptional fabrics and fine works he would seek out on trips to Japan, to the smaller, more personal items that were such an important part of his daily life. All complemented by defining objects from his more public life: a number of never-before-seen drafts of the immortal song lyrics, along with some of the riotous costumes that were the hallmark of Mercury’s signature style.
A dedicated month-long exhibition
This summer, the contents of Garden Lodge, all lovingly cherished and cared for over the last three decades, will be revealed to the public for the first time in a dedicated month-long exhibition at Sotheby’s in London, which will see every inch of the company’s 16,000 square foot gallery space dedicated to celebrating Mercury’s rich and multi-faceted life and passions, culminating in six dedicated sales in September, each one devoted to a different aspect of his life, both public and private.
The exhibition at Sotheby’s this summer will see all 1.500 or so items from Garden Lodge displayed in a sequence of specially designed immersive galleries, each one devoted to a different aspect of Mercury’s rich and varied life. The exhibition will open on 4 August, and close on what would have been his 77th birthday, 5 September. Prior to their exhibition in London, highlights from the collection will tour to New York, London, Los Angeles, and Hong Kong in June.
The Sotheby’s auctions
The six dedicated auctions which follow will be led by a live Evening Sale on 6 September, in which a representative cross-section of the most significant items in the collection will be offered. On 7 and 8 September, two further live auctions will follow: the first dedicated to Mercury “On Stage”, the second dedicated to his life “At Home”, and to the objects he loved and lived with at Garden Lodge. Three online auctions will run alongside, one shining a light on his deep love of Japan, and the other two, “Crazy Little Things”, Parts One and Two, presenting an eclectic array of the curious and everyday objects that made Mercury smile. The auction will be accompanied by the release of a limited-edition Collection Book, a commemorative volume bringing to life the story of Freddie Mercury and the objects which surrounded him.