Stepping into the King Street branch of Christie’s you can feel the history washing over you, Christie’s has been at its current London home in St James’ for almost 200 years, although the real history of the world famous auction house reaches back even further to at least 1766 when James Christie made his first official sale on 5th December.
Throughout its illustrious history Christie’s has played auctioneer to some of the most recognisable artists and iconic items, including paintings by Klimt, Monet, Picasso…. and Thursday was certainly no exception as some of the biggest names in contemporary British art had generously donated pieces to the Rays of Sunshine Art Auction!
Our first stop when we arrived was to view the pieces that had been donated; we’d all seen them in the brochure of course, but to see them displayed in a gallery setting really brought home what an amazing event this was. Personally, I’ve never been very good with measurements so, although the brochure had included the dimensions of all of the pieces, the scale of some of them truly took me by surprise and gave me a whole new appreciation of the work!
The evening, which was sponsored by Citi Private Bank began with a drinks and canapé reception, generously provided by Blakes Hotels and Armit Wines, giving guests time to relax, chat and view the art at close quarters. Once everyone had enjoyed the viewing time (and delicious food), seats were taken in the grand hall and the evening began in earnest. Our Chair of Executives and our Art Auction, Richard, and our CEO, Jane, both gave speeches which were, of course, very lovely…but I’m sure that neither of them will mind when I say that on the night they were both upstaged by our Rays of Sunshine ambassador, Charlie!
Charlie first came to us as a wish child and, since his wish in 2013, Charlie has gone from strength to strength – not only in terms of his health but in his confidence and his involvement with Rays of Sunshine. During Charlie’s speech I looked around the room and I didn’t see a single face that wasn’t full of awe for this amazing young man…..and there were definitely a few eyes that didn’t quite manage to stay dry – he definitely stole the show!
With everyone feeling inspired and ready to go, it was time for the auction to begin; the atmosphere in the great hall was wonderful and seeing some of the pieces reach well above their guide price was a truly amazing feeling. Another highlight of the evening for me was talking to our guests about my role here at Rays; I had a captive audience for one of my favourite topics!
As we came to the end of the evening there were definitely some very happy guests, as people made their way home having bought pieces that they’d fallen in love with and knowing that the money would be going towards helping us to keep granting magical wishes.
Thanks to the generosity and hard work of everyone involved in the evening, the grand total raised came in at just over £700,000! That’s going to bring a lot of happiness to the lives of some very deserving children!
As for me, well…..I left the auction utterly in awe of our fundraising team and Art Auction Committee for arranging such a wonderful event, thoroughly grateful to Christie’s and all of their staff for being so wonderful and welcoming and, as always, feeling extremely proud to be a part of Rays of Sunshine.