The Collector: art dealer Peter Petrou’s ‘weird & wonderful’ collection heads to auction

‘Tales of The Unexpected’ brings together 150 objects

Sculptural animals, carved cabinets and ancient artefacts form the basis of art dealer Peter Petrou’s eclectic trans-continental collection. Amassed over 45 years, it is headed to auction at Christie’s on 30 January.

Petrou initially trained as a lawyer before turning gallerist in the 1970s, when he set up shop in Paris and later London’s Primrose Hill. The art dealer spent half a century honing his eye for objects of beauty – and indulging his curiosity.

Photography: Christie’s Images Ltd 2019

‘Where I differed from my peers’, he told Christie’s, ‘is that most of them were specialists in a given field of art, antiquities or whatever, whereas I was a generalist, interested in anything and everything — and that has shaped my entire career.’

Now, he and his wife Leonora Petrou are parting with their self-described ‘weird and wonderful’ collection – currently on show to the public at Christie’s London auction house in an exhibition titled, Peter Petrou: Tales of The Unexpected – which spans over 3,000 years with lots starting from £300 to £100,000.

Photography: Christie’s Images Ltd 2019

Highlights include two Imperial Chinese dated Suzhou ‘Golden Bricks’ (Lot 86, estimate £15,000-£20,000) and a pair of bronze Egyptian eyes and brows (lot 5, estimate £5,000-£8,000).

A Japanese gilt and polychrome, six-fold screen (lot 41) is expected to fetch between £6,000-£10,000 while a decorative trophy from the Coldstream Guards Officer’s Mess circa 1815 (lot 50) – which looks like an ornate palm leaf – is expected to reach £30,000-£50,000.

The Peter Petrou: Tales of The Unexpected auction takes place on 30 January

Photography: Christie’s Images Ltd 2019

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