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Sotheby’s boss Harry Dalmeny: 'I want to be good at something I've not had on a plate - and ride the Cresta Run in under 50 seconds'

Lord Harry Dalmeny
Lord Harry Dalmeny Credit: Andrew Crowley for the Telegraph

Harry Dalmeny, the new boss of Sotheby’s, loves fancy dress, Korean minimalism and skeleton racing. Eleanor Doughty meets him

When Lord Dalmeny was nine years old, he watched, rapt, as the public bid at auction for a piece of his family history. The scene was Mentmore Towers, the “Jacobethan” revival pile built by Sir Joseph Paxton, and the collection, which contained works by Gainsborough, Reynolds and Chippendale, generated £6 million over 18 sessions.

“My grandmother sat on the front row and bid when she thought things were too cheap,” Dalmeny chuckles. “My sister Jane had to pull her arm down when she got to £170 on bowls that we didn’t want back.”

Forty years later, Dalmeny has just assumed the chairmanship of the auction house that arranged that sale: Sotheby’s. And, despite spending his entire career at the company, during which time he has risen steadily through the ranks, the promotion...

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