It was aristocrat gridlock at Sotheby’s in London the other night when the auction house hosted a welcoming party for Henry Wyndham and Simon de Pury, the new heads of its British and European operations.

The more than 500 guests included Lord Charles and Lady Jane Spencer-Churchill, Sir Mark Weinberg, Lord Mancroft, Lady Anne Carr, Lady Leonora Lichfield and the Duke of Northumberland.

With nearly all of Britain’s great and good at the party, the only thing missing was a Royal. The Linleys were on the guest list, but didn’t show.

The one aristocrat whose appearance was a bit of a surprise was Lord Gowrie, who had left the auction house several months ago to head the government’s Arts Council.

“This is my swan song,” he explained, before he huddled with Sotheby’s worldwide president, Dede Brooks, to talk about the art market.

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