Summers Place Auctions are the world’s leading auctioneers of Garden Statuary and Natural History. Our first sale was held over 30 years ago as part of Sotheby’s Country House saleroom at Summers Place in Sussex, since which time the sales have flourished, establishing a global reputation. Following restructuring, the department set up an independent auction house 15 years ago staffed by a team who, between them, have nearly 200 years of Sotheby’s experience.
A wealth and diversity of material offered over the years has included everything from a whole Italianate garden of fountains, terraces, a lakeside jetty and statuary weighing more than 500 tons shipped over from Massachusetts, USA to a 15 foot high bronze bust of Lenin, liberated from a town square in Latvia following the fall of the iron curtain.
One of our buyers recently observed on the incredible diversity of the material we offer, commenting that we sell “From Rome to chrome”. Recent highlights include a Roman Imperial 1st Century AD marble altar, surmounted by an urn carved by Giovanni Battista Piranesi, discovered in pieces in a north London garden and sold for £163,000 and a bronze head by Dame Elisabeth Frink from the Desert Quartet series given and patinated by the sculptor to the vendor which sold for a world record £180,000.
In 2012 we completed our new 5000 sq ft custom built gallery, nestling in six acres of landscaped grounds. Shortlisted for a number of architectural awards, it won Best Small Commercial Building in the Southern Local authority Building Control awards as well as a commendation in the Innovation and Environment Design category for the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.
In November 2013 we held our inaugural Evolution sale, including taxidermy, natural history, fossils and minerals. The undoubted highlight was a 57ft long, 150 million year old Diplodocus, which sold for a world record £500,000 to the Danish Natural History Museum.
We also enjoy our “Toys for Boys” section of the sales which may include anything from Cold War Era 40ft Russian rockets to a 1960’s ice cream van personalised by Dinos Chapman.
We now hold a minimum of four sales per year which include the best examples of Garden sculpture and decoration as well as Natural History.
As world leaders in both fields, over 60% of our buyers are from overseas, and we have a dedicated team dealing with transport and shipping.