One of London’s most respected antiques dealers, Gordon Watson has attracted clients including Elton John and Mick Jagger to his successful London gallery. Established in the 1970s, the gallery has, from the outset, offered innovative works of art and design from across the world.
Watson has himself shot to fame after appearing on the British television programme Four Rooms on Channel 4 and, more recently, in the BBC2 series The Extraordinary Collector, which saw him visit and add items to distinguished English collections. A prolific collector himself, Watson believes ‘it is each work of art’s destiny to travel from one connoisseur to another’.
Set to take place at Christie’s South Kensington on 13 October, Gordon Watson: The Collector comprises 196 lots, carefully amassed over several years. Highlights include Indian, Japanese and European furniture and ceramics, presented alongside contemporary works by artists including Sarah Lucas and Wolfgang Tillmans — with estimates ranging from £500 to £50,000. Here, Watson selects 10 highlights.
‘I’m intrigued by the classical stature of this bronze cat; it makes me think of Egypt and the tombs of the pharaohs. This is juxtaposed with the playfulness of the piece — the fact that, in order to illuminate the inset glass eyes, one has to caress the shiny nether quarters. It never fails to make me laugh.’
‘With their coloured Venini glass panels, these extraordinary modernist screens by Rodolfo Dordoni will transform any bedroom or salon to perfection!’
‘Paul Belvoir is an artist of obsessions: with his Gloriana collection, dedicated to his beloved Elizabeth I of England, he was determined to make a jewel box fit for a queen. He has certainly succeeded.’
‘The English fiurniture designer T.H. Robsjohn Gibbings was obsessed with style, and worked with the good and the great of American society in the 1930 and 1940s. In my opinion these chairs are the ultimate in pure elegance.’
‘I love the botanical detail in the legs and seat of this incredible chair. It was created by the wonderful Israeli designer, Sharon Sides.’
‘The extraordinary colours of this rug and its bold subject will give any room an instant injection of contemporary elan. In my opinion it stands up to the artist’s remarkable works on canvas.’
‘The monumental scale of this chandelier is breathtaking — it is one of the French designer Hervé van der Straeten’s most iconic designs.’
‘Thirty years ago, on a visit to the palaces of Jaipur in India, I was enthralled at seeing an Isfahan 17th-century palace carpet. They are, for me, the nonpareil in carpet design.’
‘Paul Belvoir once said, “What I love about designing in silver is imagining my works becoming beloved family treasures.” He has surpassed himself with this amazing pair of uncompromising rock-crystal and sterling-silver lamps.’
‘Japan and its treasures are one of my newer interests. I love Aldo Bakker’s genius for referencing the past by turning endless layers of lovingly applied lacquer into a contemporary sculptural form. A stool is a stool is a stool — or is it?’