“I like to be surrounded by splendid things … exquisite clutter,” Queen frontman Freddie Mercury is quoted as saying in Freddie Mercury: A Life, In His Own Words. And members of the public can now view some of that "exquisite clutter" in a new exhibition titled Freddie Mercury, A World of His Own at Sotheby's in London.
The free exhibition is open until September 5, before almost 30,000 items once owned by the singer - ranging from the Yamaha baby grand piano on which he composed some of Queen's best-loved songs through to personal Polaroid photos, gold and platinum discs, handwritten lyrics, a 'Dragon Throne' and around 50 Japanese silk kimonos - are put up for auction.
The items were once housed in Mercury's Kensington home, Garden Lodge, and were bequeathed to Mary Austin, one of the singer's closest friends, who has now decided to put everything up for sale.
A statement from Sotheby's describes the exhibition as "a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore the public and private realm of a global icon."
"A world-renowned rock superstar, away from the stage Freddie Mercury was a deeply educated collector," reads a synopsis of the exhibition. "Across six auctions, Sotheby’s reflects Freddie Mercury’s kaleidoscopic world of style and quality, spanning art, fashion, musical instruments, personal papers, possessions and photographs, furniture, and jewels, accrued over the course of fifty years.
"This collection has been meticulously preserved at his beloved home at Garden Lodge for over three decades and displays a quality and diversity of works that are a testament not only to his manifold passions, but innate style, accomplished artistry, and brilliant mind.
The series of auctions is preceded by a month-long public exhibition which will immerse visitors in Freddie’s world, in a one-of-a-kind experience, allowing full access to some of the most exciting and rare examples of artefacts from a true legend of the 20th century."
Thomas Williams, a Sotheby’s director, tells The Guardian, "masses of people will be in a position to bid for a little piece of Freddie."
The collection can be viewed here.