Sotheby's announces Harry Dalmeny as UK Chairman
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Sotheby's announces Harry Dalmeny as UK Chairman
Harry will lead Sotheby’s client-focussed activities in the UK and Ireland. Photo: Sotheby's.

LONDON.- Tad Smith, President and Chief Executive Officer of Sotheby’s, today announced the appointment of Lord Dalmeny as UK Chairman. In this capacity, Harry will lead Sotheby’s client-focussed activities in the UK and Ireland, continuing to develop and nurture key relationships, and to drive Sotheby’s strategy. Harry will also be responsible for ensuring a rich and exciting trajectory for Sotheby’s long tradition of landmark house and single-owner sales – an area in which he has, for many years, played a highly significant role.

“Harry is one of those remarkable forces of nature that attracts everyone to it. He is a master on the rostrum and that passion and charisma carry through everything he does. I am delighted that he has accepted this crucial leadership position in Sotheby’s founding home.” – Tad Smith, Sotheby’s CEO

“Every auctioneer has their provenance and I was born, phoenix-like, out of the ashes of my family’s collection.”
Though Lord Dalmeny officially started at Sotheby’s as a graduate trainee in 1990, his journey with the auction house really began in 1977, when a nine-year old Harry watched as his family possessions at Mentmore Towers were sold by Sotheby’s, following his grandfather’s passing. In a piece he wrote for World of Interiors in 2013, Harry recounts his memories of the momentous sale, which took place over the course of five days – he remembers the fascination of trailing in the wake of his mother and grandmother amidst the “Park Avenue princesses and bespectacled dealers”.

“Collectors fascinate me: they all share a desire to make order out of the chaos of the world.”
Over the course of his long tenure at Sotheby’s, Harry has played a leading role in many of the most significant British house and single-owner sales of the last quarter century, including the Duke & Duchess of Windsor sale (February 1998), the Chatsworth Attic sale (October 2010), and the Castle Howard sale (July 2015). He continues to be a galvanising force behind both the winning and finely-tuned execution of prestigious sales and projects such as these. At the same time, he is deeply invested in a wide range of sales and initiatives, not least Sotheby’s annual Treasures sales, for which he is also the auctioneer.

“Being able to embrace the unexpected encounter, to realise the potential where it’s perhaps easier to miss it, is the essential part of my work.”
Renowned for his “sixth sense” on the rostrum, Harry is one of Sotheby’s most senior auctioneers, having taken many landmark sales. He is also the lead auctioneer for Sotheby’s prestigious evening sales of Old Master Paintings. A particularly active charity auctioneer, in the past 5 years, Harry has taken 124 charity auctions, raising £17.6m­ for organisations such as The National Childrens Trust, the National Portrait Gallery, and The British Heart Foundation, among others. He will next take up the gavel at Sotheby’s for the forthcoming Fettercairn and Monteviot house sales (28 and 29 March, respectively), both of which are near and dear to Harry’s heart, given his Scottish roots.

“Having watched Harry in action over many years, and having him seen him work his magic – both on the rostrum and at some of Sotheby’s most prestigious and exciting events – I am thrilled to see him take on the position of UK Chairman. Humorous and quick-witted, his limitless energy and enthusiasm are contagious. He is one of the few auctioneers who can keep up the momentum on the rostrum for hours – days even – on end. I know that with Harry at the helm, Sotheby’s can be sure that major projects are executed with style and verve, and with characteristic attention to detail.” – The Duke of Devonshire

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