After 50 years in the business, owner Simon Chorley has sold his remaining shares for an undisclosed sum but will remain involved on a part time basis in a business-getting role. Chorley began his career in the early 1970s at surveying firm Bruton Knowles working with auctioneer Cecil Bruton and specialist Arthur Negus.
In 2006 he bought out its art and antiques division and renamed it Chorley’s Auctioneers, moving to its current saleroom at Prinknash Abbey Park, Gloucestershire.
Jenner-Fust joined Chorley’s in 2007 as a valuer and became a director of the firm in 2015. He previously worked at Bonhams where he met and worked with Freundel and later at Christie’s.
Jenner-Fust said: “The auction business has changed beyond recognition since I started my career 25 years ago and there are multiple opportunities ahead. I am keen to keep Chorley’s at the cutting edge of the online side of the business while preserving what our clients and staff enjoy: the excitement and enjoyment of live auctions.”
Freundel, who has most recently worked in high-end designer furniture distribution, added: “I am excited to return to a traditional, highly respected auction house which offers a wealth of potential for innovation.”
The auction house currently employs seven full time staff with consultants including John Harvey. However Catrin Hampton, director and specialist in 20th century art & design, has left the firm.
Scope for change
The new owners plan to hire more specialists next year.
Jenner-Fust added: “We have not held online-only or timed online sales so we really think there is scope to refine our Fine Art sales to be more compact and then look at specific categories that could be sold solely online such as books, maps and studio pottery.
“We are committed to live sales and visiting our saleroom remains a social event in the Cotswolds that shall continue. However, there are many areas that can easily sell online-only that won’t alter the way the saleroom looks and feels.”
Jenner-Fust said the firm will also continue to focus on winning consignments for country house auctions such as the Spetchley Park Attic sale in 2020.