Sotheby’s spotted surveying remainder of Riesco collection

A little bird has been in touch with Inside Croydon Towers to tell us that a couple of big buzzards, vultures even, have been seen hovering around what’s left of the Riesco Collection at the Museum of Croydon.

"Here, Tarquin... have you seen these splendid pieces of china that the chavs in Cwoydon have?"  "Yes, Jeremy. Dare say we can fleece a few extra millions off the Chinese if we can get our claws into them"

“Here, Tarquin… have you seen these splendid pieces of china that the chavs in Cwoydon have?”
“Yes, Jeremy. Dare say we can fleece a few extra millions off the Chinese if we can get our claws into those beauties”

Spotted one day last week, the pair of suits were from Sotheby’s, the auction house that has already got its hands on 24 pieces from the priceless porcelain collection which was left to the the people of Croydon in 1959 by local businessman Raymond Riesco.

It would seem that with an estimate of £13 million to be realised by cash-strapped Croydon Council from the dodgy sale of about one-tenth of the overall collection – probably in Sotheby’s showroom in Hong Kong to maximise interest from the growing Chinese market – the vultures reckon there is much more profit to be had by further denuding what little is left of our borough’s cultural heritage.

“If the Tories in charge of Croydon Council are suffering the political pain involved with selling just 24 pieces from the Riesco collection,” one campaigner against the sale told Inside Croydon, “then they have probably calculated that they might as well flog off some more pieces and make as much cash as they can and quick.”

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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3 Responses to Sotheby’s spotted surveying remainder of Riesco collection

  1. dieseltaylor says:

    Perhaps some figures on visitors – stripping out school parties – might give an idea on cost per visit. I am of the opinion that art locked up in galleries and museums who are simply unable to show all the huge number of items held is fundamentally stupid. Perhaps if they are that attractive they should be renting them to “collectors” who will love them and insure them and show them to their friends before returning them.

    I collect art glass and perhaps I could gain a measure of immortality too by presenting my collection to some local body …..

  2. davidcallam says:

    Your campaigner has a point, sadly.

    And following Jeffrey Osborne’s performance in the House of Commons yesterday, cutting the local government budget by a further 10 per cent from 2015, any Croydon Council elected next year, whatever its political complexion, will be looking for other resources to flog in an effort to make ends meet.

    That might be difficult, since the present incumbents have handed most of the family silver to Laings, with the promise of a brighter tomorrow, no doubt.

    But the Dudley Mead Empire (also known as the Fairfield Halls) remains in the public sector, as far as we know, so it must be a prime target.

  3. mraemiller says:

    There’s a simple solution to the complaint that the crockery makes “no contribution” to the borough. Use it. Most of it is functional. I’m sure Cllr Fisher would be in favour of keeping a few more plates if he was eating his dinner off them.

    Seriously, does anyone know which pieces of the Collection Sotherbys have at the moment. I put in an FOI but they’re being remarkably coy… 20 working days not up yet though

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