The Surreal Art and Interiors of Simon de Pury’s Ely House Auction

Leave it to Simon de Pury, the art world's most theatrical auctioneer (plus tastemaker and occasional DJ) to mastermind a new way of staging an auction. He teamed up with interior designer Jacques Grange and Christie's to present the eclectic collection of his client Baroness Marion Lambert. Art and antiques are displayed in the bedrooms, ballrooms, and nooks of an 18th century London mansion built for the Bishop of Ely. The collection is going on the block on Oct. 14, with estimates as low as 20 pounds ($30). Photographs by Luke MacGregor for Bloomberg

  1. Ely House

    Ely House

    Ely House on London's chic Dover Street was designed in 1772 by neoclassical architect Robert Taylor for the Bishop of Ely. "It was his London pied-à-terre," de Pury says of the four-story townhouse that currently houses Mallett Antiques.

    Photographer: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg

  2. 1953 Fiat

    1953 Fiat

    First surprise: This tiny, black 1953 Fiat is parked inside, near a grand marble staircase. "It looks like a little toy," says de Pury. The baroness “always drives these funny cars." 

    Photographer: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg

  3. Gaetano Pesce Lamp

    Gaetano Pesce Lamp

    Almost 8 feet tall, this oversize desk lamp by Gaetano Pesce contributes to the surreal atmosphere on the ground floor. "There's a lot of humor in the sale," de Pury says. 

    Photographer: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg

  4. Jacques Grange Decor

    Jacques Grange Decor

    Ely House was repainted and redecorated from top to bottom by Jacques Grange. On the top floor, a serene room showcases this daybed and plants. "We wanted to convey the sense of what it's like to live with this art in a private home," de Pury says. 

    Photographer: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg

  5. Ugo Rondinone Painting

    Ugo Rondinone Painting

    Ugo Rondinone's target painting greets visitors descending the grand staircase of Ely House. It's estimated at 120,000 pounds to 180,000 pounds ($183,000 to $274,000). 

    Photographer: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg

  6. Joyce Pensato Painting

    Joyce Pensato Painting

    Marion Lambert has collected across categories and styles. Here, Joyce Pensato's 2007 painting I Must Be Dreamin' is displayed above the 18th century French furniture. 

    Photographer: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg

  7. Christopher Wool Paintings

    Christopher Wool Paintings

    These three paintings by Christopher Wool are among the most expensive items on display. Untitled (1995), left, is estimated at 3 million pounds to 5 million pounds. 

    Photographer: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg

  8. Louis XV Furniture

    Louis XV Furniture

    Once owned by Baron Gustave de Rothschild, this 1760s Louis XV ormolu-mounted ebony bureau plat and cartonnier with cercles tournant clock is estimated at 200,000 pounds to 400,000 pounds. 

    Photographer: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg

  9. Japanese Screens

    Japanese Screens

    These 19th century Japanese screens are among many Asian artworks and decorative objects in the Lambert Art Collection. 

    Photographer: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg

  10. Marilyn Minter Photograph

    Marilyn Minter Photograph

    Marilyn Minter's racy 2005 photograph Twins is one of the first things you see entering Ely House. It's estimated at 20,000 pounds to 30,000 pounds. 

    Photographer: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg

  11. Cindy Sherman Photograph

    Cindy Sherman Photograph

    On the opposite wall, the red of Cindy Sherman's clown photograph, left, is matched by Fire by Roberto Capucci, one of several haute couture pieces in the sale. 

    Photographer: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg

  12. Cabinet


    The undulating motif of Elizabeth Garouste and Mattia Bonetti's Belgravia cabinet is echoed in many paintings, screens, and photographs of the Lambert Art Collection—as well as the railings of Ely House. 

    Photographer: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg

  13. A Hallway

    A Hallway

    Art and antiques in the hallways of Ely House reflect Baroness Marion Lambert's taste, with prices ranging from 20 pounds to 3 million pounds. 

    Photographer: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg

  14. Simon de Pury

    Simon de Pury

    "These Christopher Wool paintings are to die for," says Simon de Pury, chairman of De Pury Pictet Turrettini. 

    Photographer: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg

  15. Günther Förg and Rudolf Stingel

    Günther Förg and Rudolf Stingel

    Old and new: Amid Ely House's interior details, Günther Förg's Untitled artworks hang above a door near Rudolf Stingel's Untitled work, left, and David Shrigley's Metal Flag

    Photographer: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg

  16. Katharina Fritsch

    Katharina Fritsch

    Large-scale contemporary artworks, including Katharina Fritsch's Postkarte (Paris) 4, are displayed on the staircase. 

    Photographer: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg

  17. Aya Takano Painting

    Aya Takano Painting

    Contemporary artist Aya Takano's painting Summoning her owls, she looked yonder. The buildings shone (center) hangs above Warren McArthur's mid-20th century furniture. "That's the way she likes to live," de Pury says. 

    Photographer: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg

  18. Soup Can

    Soup Can

    Andy Warhol's soup can paintings reimagined by Simon International. 

    Photographer: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg

  19. Cindy Sherman Prints

    Cindy Sherman Prints

    Cindy Sherman's prints Untitled (#238), left, and Untitled (#235). The auction has a strong online component, with a website listing videos, artist bios, and market analysis. 

    Photographer: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg

  20. Chinese Paintings

    Chinese Paintings

    Three pieces from a set of 18 Chinese export paintings. 

    Photographer: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg

  21. Jean Lurçat Screen

    Jean Lurçat Screen

    Jean Lurçat's 1955 screen, featuring bugs and butterflies, is displayed next to David Shrigley's grass-green painting Happy Balls, Sad Balls

    Photographer: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg