Obituary: David Bathurst

David Charles Lopes Bathurst, auctioneer and art dealer, born 15 December 1937, President Christie's New York 1978-84, married 1967 Cornelia McCosh (three daughters), died 20 September 1992.

DAVID BATHURST, the former Chairman of the auction house Christie Manson & Woods, had a charm and ebullient personality which were ideally suited to expansionism in the 1980s; he was keen to take Christie's away from its old stuffy image.

Bathurst was educated at Eton, where he opened the batting for the XXII (second eleven) and his average far exceeded those of his peers in the XI; at 15 he started bobsleighing on the Cresta Run, a family tradition - his father Viscount Bledisloe was President. Bathurst went to Magdalen College, Oxford, and did his National Service in the 12th Royal Lancers, after which he studied at the Carnegie Institute, part of the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh. His introduction to the modern-art world came through his time at the New London Gallery, part of Marlborough Fine Art, whence he went to Christie's in 1963 to start the Impressionist and Modern Picture Department at King Street, becoming a director at the age of 29 in 1966.

During the Sixties he travelled extensively in the United States, and in 1977 he went to New York to set up the Impressionist and Modern Picture department and took over as Chairman of Christie's New York the next year. His vigorous outlook was a crucial factor in establishing Christie's in the US market.

John Lumley, a colleague at Christie's with whom David Bathurst shared an office for 11 years, said, 'He should get a lot of credit for starting the Impressionist and Modern Picture department here and being, I would think, individually the single most important member of the team which developed Christie's auctions in New York. He was imaginative, forward-looking, popular, and always willing to delegate.'

'He was, very courageous and brave,' David Nickerson of Mallett Bourdon House said, 'if a little impetuous; added to which he had a great sense of humour. I remember once, when I found a picture which I was convinced was an early Monet I rang his house and left a message with the nanny who told him, 'Mr Nickerson rang to say he had got a lot of money for you.' '

Bathurst's highly successful career at Christie's culminated in his appointment as Chairman of Christie, Manson & Woods in succession to Jo Floyd in 1984; he subsequently resigned from Christie's in 1987 as a result of the Cristallina case. On leaving Christie's he set up the St James's Art Group, which deals in Impressionist and modern paintings and sculptures, together with two other former Christie's colleagues. He pursued his many interests which included contemporary paintings and bookbindings, the opera (about which he was never too serious) and Chelsea FC, whose games he attended regularly.

He loved Scotland and shooting grouse and died of a heart attack while out on the hill.

(Photograph omitted)

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

HR Manager - Kent - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager / Training Manager (L&D /...

HR Manager - Edgware, London - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - Edgware, Lon...

HR Manager - London - £40,000 + bonus

£32000 - £40000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager (Generalist) -Old...

Talent Manager / HR Manager - central London - £50,000

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Talent / Learning & Development Mana...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam