David Linley


David Linley has carved out an exceptional career in bespoke design since the establishment of his eponymous studio 30 years ago. An honorary appointment at Christies, the renowned auction house, allows his skilled eye to witness the comings and goings of the world’s greatest masterpieces.

‘It’s like being in a theatre,’ says David, Viscount Linley, of his role as Honorary Chairman of Christies Europe, Middle East, Russia and India from the headquarters in London, ‘Productions come and go. Right now, it’s chandeliers, mirrors, commodes and clocks dripping in gold; next week its antiquities from a thousand years ago.’ It’s a drama that delights him: ‘The pleasure of working with extraordinary art that inspires you and tickles the eye, skills and artistry you won’t believe humankind is capable of – I get to experience this on a daily basis.’

David’s responsibility is to ensure that Christies’ top collectors are well looked after, and that the experience of buying art is as exceptional as the work itself. David will begin the relationship with any new collector by listening: ‘I’m always careful to ask what they have in their collection, what they hold dear. Do they want to add to it, sell it, restore it? Those answers help me build the story.’ David then introduces the client to the appropriate Christies expert – essential to understanding the provenance of each piece – and subsequently guides that client through the sale and delivery of their desired work. Of course, Christies’ auctions span 80 categories that go beyond art and antiques; clients might buy across categories that include Hermès handbags and watches, jewellery and wine. 

David has a unique understanding of furnishing a yacht, having worked closely with top interior designers such as Andrew Winch. ‘At Linley, we’ve been making pieces specifically for yachts for 25 years. Not just furniture; watch boxes, binocular cases, yacht-shaped or flag decorated humidors – our bespoke accessories inspire great affection but are also practical. Their quality is always appropriate to the yacht.’ And does the designer enjoy boating himself? ‘I’ve read magazines and dreamt like most people! I love the look of sailing yachts in particular. It’s a great honour and pleasure to go on the classic yachts belonging to good friends.’ 

David and Chris – who have been friends for 15 years – often communicate on how they can offer their clients a more personalised service, and they look for synergies between them to better benefit those clients. In that spirit, should a Cecil Wright client like to attend a private view at Christies then Chris would be delighted to make the introduction to David. 

David Linley Portrait 10

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