54 0
Sotheby's : The First Art Auction House in Europe

Sotheby's : The First Art Auction House in Europe


The Founder of Sotheby’s

The founder of Sotheby was Samuel Baker (1713–78).[1] Baker first started his own business by selling books in the mid of Enlightenment era, 1744.[2] Sometimes he got a big collection of books to sell. Baker found it easy to sell the large amount of books in a coffee shop.[3] He invited other booksellers rather than knocked at peoples door to door. The English gentlemen also found it easy to come to Baker and buy books in a cheaper price. Baker sold all types of books including history, theology, medicine, law and popular novels at that time.[4] Though he started with books, but from the beginning he also auctioned art.[5]

Samuel Baker needed someone as a shareholder. So he took George Leigh in 1767, and the firm renamed Baker and Leigh.[6] Baker had no children but a nephew named John Sotheby (1740–1807).[7] Baker died in April 1778 and John Sotheby took the charge on behalf of Samuel Baker.[8] The company renamed Messrs’ Leigh and Sotheby.

In conclusion, it can be said, the art market changed its path always. During the seventeenth century the art market was in Amsterdam. After that it moved to France, and Paris turned the cultural hub of Western Europe.[9] The collectors, dealers were gathered in Paris. The art industry followed the footsteps. During the eighteenth century, the industrial revolution had given money and prosperity to the English people. London confiscated the crown from Paris. By the end of the eighteenth century London became the international art centre. At last, a combination of all of the above was the cause for the rise of the collectors, connoisseurs, and the auction house.


[1] James Miller, Sotheby’s, 2003, Oxford Art Online.

<https://doi-org.proxy.library.adelaide.edu.au/10.1093/gao/9781884446054.article.T079852> (26 May. 2016).

[2] Miller, Sotheby’s, <https://doi-org.proxy.library.adelaide.edu.au/10.1093/gao/9781884446054.article.T079852>

[3] Lacey, Sotheby’s: Bidding for Class,19-22.

[4] Lacey, Sotheby’s: Bidding for Class,21.

[5] Miller, Sotheby’s, <https://doi-org.proxy.library.adelaide.edu.au/10.1093/gao/9781884446054.article.T079852>

[6] Lacey, Sotheby’s: Bidding for Class,22.

[7] Miller, Sotheby’s, <https://doi-org.proxy.library.adelaide.edu.au/10.1093/gao/9781884446054.article.T079852>

[8] Miller, Sotheby’s, <https://doi-org.proxy.library.adelaide.edu.au/10.1093/gao/9781884446054.article.T079852>

[9] Koenraad. The Auction of King William’s Paintings 1713. 29-35.

post like this

Viewer’s Comments 0