Sotheby’s boss suffers 52 pellets in the face during grouse shoot
THE chairman of one of the most famous auction houses in the world is recovering after reportedly being shot in the face during a grouse shoot in Scotland.
Henry Wyndham, chairman of Sotheby’s Europe was said to have been injured after a gun was accidentally fired towards him, spraying shot in his arm, throat and face.
It is thought the old Etonian would have been blinded had he not been wearing glasses when the accident happened last Monday – the first day of the grouse shooting season.
Mr Wyndham was reportedly standing at his post – referred to in the shooting world as a grouse ‘butt’ – when a gun near him was accidentally fired, leaving him with shot wounds in the upper half of his body.
Emergency services were called and Mr Wyndham was airlifted to hospital from the Scottish moor. He was treated for 52 lead pellet wounds.
The accident took place on a hired estate on a shoot organised by American hedge-fund manager Louis Bacon, 56.
Mr Wyndham, 58, has now been released from hospital and is said to be recuperating with his family at a cottage in Scotland.
Accidents are rare in shooting but not unheard of, especially during grouse shoots because the birds like to fly close to the ground. Each shotgun cartridge is loaded with about 250 pellets.
A source said: “Henry was very lucky – if he had not been wearing glasses he would have been blinded.”
As well as being chairman of Sotheby’s Europe, Mr Wyndham is also the most senior auctioneer at the auction house.
He swung the gavel when the world record for the most expensive artwork sold at auction was broken in 2010 – Giacometti’s Walking Man sculpture fetched £65 million from a mystery buyer.
A Sotheby’s spokesperson said: “Henry Wyndham sustained an accident on the grouse moor and is currently on track for a full and rapid recovery.”
The grouse-shooting season officially starts on 12 August – the “Glorious Twelfth” – but because it fell on a Sunday this year, a day when it is customary in Scotland not to shoot game, it got under way a day later.
Mr Wyndham has been involved in the art world for more than 35 years. In a recent interview he explained that his enthusiasm developed when he was 15.
“It all started with collecting, for me. I started collecting stamps and then moved on to collecting weaponry and swords. And then probably at age 14-15, I then got into collecting drawings. So it evolved into that. I think that’s where it all came from, really.”
He also explained his love of auctions.
“I think auction houses, the beauty of it is that there is a process, and then there’s a theatre at the end. There’s a performance and the performance is the final thing. I like the idea of the hammer falling and that being the price that’s paid and the end of the story.”
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