Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

Christopher Elwes, managing director of Bonhams for 13 years and latterly chief executive of the merged companies, has stepped down, taking on a consultancy role, and has been replaced by Malcolm Barber, longstanding managing director of Brooks and now the group managing director of Bonhams and Brooks.

The company has also ended its association with Guernsey auctioneers Martel Maides, while the future of the other mainland saleroom in Honiton, Devon, will be decided in the coming months.

While Bonhams and Brooks have issued no official statement regarding closures and redundancies, it is understood that the changes are part of a restructuring programme to accommodate the Brooks side of the auction business and, according to a company spokesman, "to maximise the potential of our core areas of business".

Clearly one of these areas is the London picture department, which will expand to include 13 specialists when two experts in Old Masters, Andrew McKenzie and Brian Koetser, join from Phillips on January 17.

On the other hand textiles, contemporary furniture, modern ceramics and Indian paintings will be subsumed in broader categories of sale, while furniture will lose one member of staff. Administrative departments to be affected by redundancies are marketing and press, the valuations office, accounts and client services.