London Drinking Culture. Representing 60 years of Soho’s bohemian drinking culture, the last remaining art works to be sold at auction from the iconic Colony Room, are offered in a sale of Modern and Contemporary art at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions, Thursday 5th December 2013.
Described by Francis Bacon as “a place to dissolve our inhibitions”, the notorious colony room was opened as a private drinking club in Dean Street, Soho, in 1948. The notorious proprietor Muriel Belcher paid Bacon £10 a week to secure his richest friends and clients as regulars, the only apparent criteria for membership being that they drank heavily and weren’t boring.
A favorite huant of Bacon, his friend Lucian Freud, and in the 1990s by YBA’s such as Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst, the colony rooms built a reputation for hedonism before is finally closed in doors in 2008.
A drunken doodle, from the year of the clubs closure, dated 7th June 2008, is signed by British artists Tracey Emin, Gavin Turk, Louise Wilson and David Adjaye amongst others and bears scribbled notes which include: “Save the Colony Room with love, Mick Jones” and “I agree! Me too…Miranda x”. From its final days, this piece of embroidered fabric, embodies the heart of the Colony Room and is estimated at £2,000-3,000 [Lot 132].
In addition to signing the embroidered fabric, collaborative artists Tim Noble and Sue Webster were two of many artists who donated works to the club. Their humorous pen and ink drawing of Charles and Diana, 1998, is estimated at £3,000-5,000 [Lot 131].
A regular in its heyday, Barry Flanagan also gifted works to the Colony Room, his Unicorn and Oak Tree 1989, a bronze with brown patina, is from the edition of five known casts and is estimated at £4,000-6,000 [Lot 70].
The sale is on view at Bloomsbury House, Maddox Street, London, from Sunday to Wednesday, 1-4 December. Online bidding with no additional premium will be available via http://www.bloomsburyauctions.com.