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Photo courtesy of Sotheby's Auction Page

Step into Freddie Mercury’s personal world for one month only at London’s Sotheby’s

Freddie Mercury: A World of His Own : 4 August–5 September 2023

Sotheby’s London, 34-35 New Bond St, London W1S 2RP

Exhibition free & open to the public, no booking required

This summer, Sotheby’s New Bond Street galleries have been transformed with a month-long building takeover with an exhibition featuring the collection which has remained at Freddie’s beloved home, Garden Lodge, for over three decades. In addition, there will be pop-up shops and restaurants inspired by Freddie himself.

This vast collection of more than 1400 items of the singer’s personal belongings had been left to Mercury’s close friend Mary Austin and remained undisturbed in his west London mansion for 30 years since his death in 1991. These include his flamboyant stage costumes, handwritten drafts of “Bohemian Rhapsody” and the baby grand piano he used to compose Queen’s greatest hits. The entire collection will be sold at Sotheby’s in a series of auctions in September.

More background on his collection can be seen in a video interview with his personal assistant for the last 11 years here.

The collection also includes Mercury’s art collection, featuring works by Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali and Marc Chagall, as well as his eclectic antique furniture and numerous cat figurines.

I like to be surrounded by splendid things. I want to lead a Victorian life, surrounded by exquisite clutter.

Freddie Mercury

Many of the highlights conveyed Mercury’s love of theatre and showmanship. There were his dazzling sequinned, skin-tight catsuits, leather jackets and the lavish red cape and crown he wore on his last Queen performance in 1986, as well as his collection of Japanese silk kimonos.

Other items were more personal and intimate, including a school book with the singer’s name, Fred Bulsara, dating from the 1960s when he had just arrived in the U.K. with his family from Zanzibar. Visitors could study Mercury’s detailed dinner party seating plans and menus, as well as handwritten invitations to his famous birthday bashes — including one dated 1977 that instructed guests to “Dress to Kill!”

Among the hundreds of Mercury’s personal treasures were previously unseen working drafts of hits “Don’t Stop Me Now,” “We Are the Champions” and ”Somebody to Love.” “We have here working lyrics for pretty much every song that Freddie Mercury wrote through the 1970s,” said Gabriel Heaton, a specialist at the auction house. “We’ve got extensive working drafts that really showed how songs developed, how they changed, how they took shape in the most wonderful way.”

The handwritten draft of “Bohemian Rhapsody” — which shows that Mercury experimented with naming the song “Mongolian Rhapsody” before crossing it out — is expected to fetch 800,000 to 1.2 million pounds ($1 million to $1.5 million.)

For more information go to Sotheby’s Auction House website here.