Freddie Mercury’s Private Collection to Be Unveiled + Auctioned This Summer
Never-before-seen items from the personal collection of the late Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury — including his vintage Martin acoustic guitar, his iconic Queen costume crown and even an 1880 James Jacques Tissot painting, Type of Beauty, once owned by the rock singer — will be exhibited for the first time this summer by Sotheby's in London, then auctioned.
Dubbed the Freddie Mercury "A World of His Own" series, the exhibit and auctions will center on objects from the Queen singer's home, the Garden Lodge in Kensington, West London, where the rocker "fashioned his own private world, assembling a collection that reflected and fired his expansive imagination," Sotheby's says of the multi-faceted event spearheaded by Mary Austin, the inheritor of the effects who was perhaps Mercury's closest companion in life.
See select images near the bottom of this post.
According to a press release, the month-long exhibition will see around 1,500 items from Mercury's Garden Lodge displayed in a sequence of specially-designed immersive galleries, each devoted to a different aspect of the Queen singer's rich and varied life.
The exhibition opens on Aug. 4 and closes on Sept. 5. Before the showing in London, pieces will show in New York, London, Los Angeles, and Hong Kong this June.
Six dedicated Sotheby's Freddie Mercury auctions will follow on Sept. 6. On Sept. 7–8, two further live auctions will follow — the first dedicated to Mercury's "On Stage" accouterment, the second his "At Home" items.
The exhibition will also be cataloged in a limited-edition book about the collection, a commemorative volume bringing to life the story of Freddie Mercury and the objects that surrounded him.
"I have had the joy and privilege of living surrounded by all the wonderful things that Freddie sought out and so loved," Austin says. "But the years have passed, and the time has come for me to take the difficult decision to close this very special chapter in my life."
She adds, "It was important to me to do this in a way that I felt Freddie would have loved, and there was nothing he loved more than an auction. Freddie was an incredible and intelligent collector who showed us that there is beauty and fun and conversation to be found in everything; I hope this will be an opportunity to share all the many facets of Freddie, both public and private, and for the world to understand more about, and celebrate, his unique and beautiful spirit."