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The remainder of the business will concentrate on valuations and sourcing material for sale at Olympia and New Bond Street. The restructure raises the question as to how Sotheby’s can keep Summers Place as a going concern, retaining all the estate costs while dramatically cutting the volume of sales on the premises. It is also a valuable freehold asset.

If its main business is to be sourcing material, it could do this from smaller premises with storage facilities. Asked if they would retain use of the entire estate, the company would not comment further other than to say that the site “remained under review” and that they were “in consultation” with staff.

There will be business conducted off the premises, too, starting with the modern and vintage sporting guns and rifles department’s major sale at the Gleneagles Hotel, Auchterarder, Perthshire on Monday, September 3. There will be a garden statuary sale with a pre-sale estimate of more than £1m at Billingshurst on Tuesday, September 25.