Details of the project are yet to be disclosed, but Chiswick says it hopes to open at a site “within a stone’s throw” of soon-to-close Christie’s South Kensington by September.
Nigel Shorthouse, who has been at Christie’s for more than 20 years, latterly working as CSK’s business manager, is to lead the new operation.
As some contracts are yet to be finalised, other staff names have not been released, but the seven recruits are understood to be specialist rather than general valuers.
CSK’s long-serving carpets and rugs specialist Mark Henry Lampe has already joined the firm alongside other ex-Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Bonhams’ staff hired in recent years to work in west London.
Chiswick Auctions associate director Matthew Caddick told ATG “the bold decision to put both investment and talent into a central London access point” came wholly in the light of Christie’s closing its doors at the end of July (the final CSK sale is on July 19).
“We are hoping that the new showroom, just a stone’s throw from the old building, and a lot of familiar faces will make this ‘business as usual’ for regular CSK consignors.”
Chiswick already receives ‘below threshold’ referrals from Christie’s.
The two-floor site will not be used as a saleroom but rather as a “dynamic and flexible space” where clients can meet specialists, consign items for sale and view upcoming highlights.
Sales held at the Chiswick headquarters (1 Colville Road, W3) will be live-streamed to the site and allow central Londoners to bid in real time.
Caddick said the management team, including owners William Rouse and Leigh Osborne, feel comfortable the new venture will not overstretch resources at a firm that already holds 180 sales a year.
“The foundation for this ‘play’ for market share is really solid,” Caddick added.
“In recent years we have essentially followed a CSK-type model, building up a range of specialist departments.
“We consider this to be phase two, with an opportunity to add a second or third specialist to some of those departments and the chance to add new areas of expertise. We are confident we have the right bums on seats for the project.”