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Sotheby's: Bidding for Class

Robert Lacey

4 Reviews

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Prose: non-fiction, History

* The engrossing story of Sotheby's, the world's largest auction house, by the author of MAJESTY, THE KINGDOM and GRACE.

This volume explores the history of Sotheby's auction house, tracing its beginnings back to 1744. It was in the latter half of the 19th century, when economic instability forced the aristocrats to sell off many of their treasures, that Sotheby's began to lay the foundations of the modern art market. The Sotheby's-Christie's rivalry intensified in the early-1900s and they have been battling it out ever since over the likes of Cezanne, Picasso, Van Gogh and Monet. Lacey takes the reader through the unprecedented boom of the 1980s, when Van Gogh's Irises went for $53.9 million, and examines the catastrophic effects of an inflation still being felt today.

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Praise for Sotheby's: Bidding for Class

  • This is no on-your-knees, aren't they wonderful corporate biography. It's a well-researched, largely accurate, acute, sometimes very funny analysis of a company which steps from scandal and hot water into the sunlight of success every month of the year - Godfrey Barker, LITERARY REVIEW'

  • Written by the same old pacy, racy Lacey familiar to us from his royal books ... his talent for winkling out piquant detail is at its best - Bevis Hillier, SPECATOR

  • [This is] no corporate biography byt a pacy, racy book on the auction house and its characters. - ANTIQUES TRADE GAZETTE

  • This is about as readable an introduction to the guiles of modern auctioneering, including its sharper practices, as you are likely to find. - ART REVIEW

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Robert Lacey

Robert Lacey, a former magazine editor and journalist, is the author of many best-selling works of biography and history. Following his success Sir Walter Ralegh (Phoenix Press) Robert Lacey wrote Majesty. Published on the occasion of the Queen s Silver Jubilee in 1977, it is the definitive study of the British monarchy, on which subject Lacey continues to lecture around the world.
Winning renown for his original and painstaking research, Robert Lacey has gone on to write authoritative and successful works on Saudi Arabia, the Ford family, the gangster Little Man Meyer Lansky, Princess Grace of Monaco and Sothebys. He also wrote and presented the BBC television series Aristocrats. Most recently his fascinating description of life at the turn of the first millennium in The Year 1000 has been a best-seller on both sides of the Atlantic.

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