Freddie Mercury’s dazzling creativity would catapult him beyond the realms of a musician or performer; he was one of those rare stars who is nothing less than a global cultural phenomenon.

Yet, while Mercury captivated audiences across the globe, it was at his beloved home – Garden Lodge in Kensington, west London – where he fashioned his own private world, assembling a collection that reflected and fired his expansive imagination.

Freddie Mercury collection
A rare image from Freddie’s private album, showing some pre-concert downtime.

On acquiring Garden Lodge in 1980 – a beautiful, light-filled Georgian-style brick villa originally built for an artist and his sculptor wife in the early 20th century – Mercury set about creating a home that was at once grand and intimate, full of theatre and richly furnished with beautiful works of art.

It was a place wholly of his own making, a home to which he could retreat, and where – surrounded by the abundant art and objects he carefully sought out over the course of years – he could entertain and create in a way that only he knew how.

For some 30 years, Garden Lodge has remained almost entirely as Mercury left it, complete with the many works of art that spoke to him so deeply.

Included are Victorian paintings and striking works on paper by the greatest artists of the 20th century, fine examples of glassmakers' art, exceptional fabrics and fine works he would seek out on trips to Japan, and smaller, more personal items that were such an important part of his daily life.

More like this

These are all complemented by defining objects from his more public life: a number of never-before-seen drafts of the immortal song lyrics, along with some of the riotous costumes that were the hallmark of Mercury’s signature style.

This summer, the contents of Garden Lodge, all lovingly cherished and cared for over the last three decades, will be revealed to the public for the first time in a dedicated month-long exhibition at Sotheby’s in London.

The event will see every inch of the company’s 16,000 square foot gallery space dedicated to celebrating Mercury’s rich and multi-faceted life and passions, culminating in six dedicated sales in September, each one devoted to a different aspect of his life, both public and private.

Mary Austin, one of Mercury’s closest and most trusted friends, has treasured and cared for his home and everything in it for the last 30 years.

'For many years now, I have had the joy and privilege of living surrounded by all the wonderful things that Freddie sought out and so loved. But the years have passed, and the time has come for me to take the difficult decision to close this very special chapter in my life. It was important to me to do this in a way that I felt Freddie would have loved, and there was nothing he loved more than an auction,' she says.

'Freddie was an incredible and intelligent collector who showed us that there is beauty and fun and conversation to be found in everything; I hope this will be an opportunity to share all the many facets of Freddie, both public and private, and for the world to understand more about, and celebrate, his unique and beautiful spirit.'

Mary Austin will be donating a portion of the proceeds of the sale to both the Mercury Phoenix Trust and to the foundation of one of Freddie Mercury's greatest friends, the Elton John Aids Foundation.

The month-long exhibition at Sotheby’s this summer will see all 1,500 or so items from Garden Lodge displayed in a sequence of specially designed immersive galleries, each one devoted to a different aspect of Mercury’s rich and varied life.

The exhibition will open on 4th August, and close on what would have been his 77th birthday, 5th September. Prior to their exhibition in London, highlights from the collection will tour to New York, London, Los Angeles, and Hong Kong in June.

The six dedicated auctions which follow will be led by a live Evening Sale on 6th September, in which a representative cross-section of the most significant items in the collection will be offered.

On 7th and 8th September, two further live auctions will follow: the first dedicated to Mercury 'On Stage', the second dedicated to his life 'At Home', and to the objects he loved and lived with at Garden Lodge.

Three online auctions will run alongside, one shining a light on his deep love of Japan, and the other two, 'Crazy Little Things', Parts One and Two, presenting an eclectic array of the curious and everyday objects that made Mercury smile.

The auction will be accompanied by the release of a limited-edition Collection Book, a commemorative volume bringing to life the story of Freddie Mercury and the objects which surrounded him.

The Freddie Mercury: A World of His Own exhibition will open at Sotheby's on the 4th August 2023 until the 5th September 2023. The auctions will take place on the 6th, 7th and 8th of September.

More auction content from Homes & Antiques

Sign up to our weekly newsletter to enjoy more H&A content delivered to your inbox.