Charles Saumarez Smith

Private Riches

Great Collectors of Our Time: Art Collecting Since 1945

By

Scala Publishers 416pp £45 order from our bookshop

I cannot think of anyone better qualified to write about the lives of collectors than James Stourton, the exceedingly tall, elegant and well-connected chairman of Sotheby’s UK, who has spent his life making friends with the owners of great works of art. Himself a bibliophile and member of the Roxburgh Club, with wide-ranging intellectual interests, he has evidently met many of the collectors about whom he writes, and he describes them sympathetically, if occasionally with slightly too much of the deference that comes with a position in the upper echelons of auctioneering. His book is comprehensive and readable, and gives a fascinating account of postwar collecting across three continents.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Something of an 'eccentric billionaire’s hobby': reviews 'The Space Barons: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and… ,
    • "At the age of fifteen, drunk on stolen Chardonnay or stoned on pot at a swimming party, the thoughts that come imm… ,
    • For the latest Bookends, here's Alan Taylor musing on his stint as an assistant librarian. ,
    • A ‘pretentious ass and impotent arriviste’ who surrounded himself with ‘degenerates, hooligans, childish layabouts,… ,
    • . reviews 'Aristotle’s Way: How Ancient Wisdom Can Change Your Life' by ,
    • "As Beevor shows, it was one of the most daring, dangerous and fiercely fought operations of the whole war. It was… ,
    • "The characters are very rich and very male, with astronomical ambitions. The potted biographies in this book sugge… ,