Sotheby’s has been completely taken over by thousands of items from Freddie Mercury’s personal collection, for a free four week long exhibition that pulls back the curtain on his life. The exhibition gives the public a chance to see some of Mercury’s most iconic possessions familiar from stage performances such as his red cape and gown from his very final stage appearance at Knebworth in 1986, to never before seen items that were personal to the Queen frontman.
Over 1,400 lots of Mercury’s personal items from his treasured home, Kensington Garden Lodge House, will go under the hammer during the course of six auctions at Sotheby’s. The star of the show is the Yamaha G2 Baby Grand Piano which was deeply precious to Mercury and which he composed numerous Queen hits on, including Bohemian Rhapsody. The piano was bought in 1975 and is estimated to be worth £2-3 million. Mary Austin, Mercury’s once fiancé and long-time friend, recalls that “Freddie treated the Yamaha with absolute respect. He considered it to be more than an instrument, it was an extension of himself, his vehicle of creativity”.
Each of the 15 galleries at the iconic Sotheby’s will be devoted to showcasing different aspects of Mercury’s life. From schooltime poetry experimentation, handwritten lyrics from the band’s most famous songs, costumes from performances, unseen photographs and his personal record collection, to beautiful paintings, furniture, decor, and even cutlery that filled Mercury’s home – there is an endless array of items to marvel at.
Particularly interesting are the random odds and ends that Mercury once treasured such as his adorable collection of cat paraphernalia, a collection of his favourite games and puzzles he played at home and whilst on tour (which include the classic Scrabble and a 500-piece jigsaw puzzle) and his oh so teeny tiny silver mustache comb from Tiffany’s.
The exhibition also showcases Mercury’s fascination with Japan, with an entire room dedicated to it and even its own section in the auction. It features 70 bespoke pieces of Japanese clothing and kimonos, some of which are estimated at £11,000 and include his stage-worn red satin silk kimono decorated with fans he acquired during his 1976 tour in Japan.
This is truly a sale like no other. For ordinary folk that can’t afford to fork out £15,000 to £25,000 on a 1941 jukebox that once sat in the kitchen of the lead singer of Queen, the exhibition will be plenty fascinating and exciting, giving us a nosy look into Mercury’s life.
The exhibition runs from August 4 – September 5, which would have been Mercury’s birthday, and will be open seven days a week on a first come first served basis, so no tickets will be required. For more information, head to Sotheby’s official website here.