Art Fairs

Cliveden House Hosts the World's Literati for a Weekend of Talks

By Sotheby's

F rom 29-30 September, the Cliveden Literary Festival will play host to an unrivalled group of the world’s leading authors, historians and politicians in what award-winning author Ian McEwan describes as: “Probably the world’s best small literary festival”.

Cliveden House, Berkshire.

Only in its second year, the roll-call of panellists for the festival reads like the Sunday Times bestseller list, with famous faces from the worlds of television, politics and art thrown in for good measure – or good debate. Speakers include Simon Sebag Montefiore, Niall Ferguson, Edmund de Waal, Ruth Wilson and Simon Schama; taking to the stage to cover a diverse range of subjects from Russian espionage, to the science of gardens.

Regardless of one’s interest, all bases are firmly covered: Alain de Botton will deliver an address on the key to marital bliss, Armando Iannucci shares the tricks of the satirist trade, and Cherie Blair and Zeinab Bedawi will speak about walking the tightrope of female power.

David Reynolds, Lord Rothschild, Simon Sebag Montefiore, Simon Schama and Howard Jacobson. Courtesy Cliveden Literary Festival.

As well as being a historic sanctuary for literary figures such as Rudyard Kipling and Henry James, who were guests of Viscount Astor and his wife Nancy, Cliveden House has enjoyed close ties to the royal family; every monarch since Charles II has been hosted at Cliveden. It was here that the Duchess of Sussex stayed on the eve of her recent wedding at Windsor Castle, once again propelling the house in to the spotlight, as on many occasions in its storied history.

Lord Rothschild with a copy of the Balfour Declaration. © Charlie Hopkinson.

The festival continues very much in the spirit of the house, that for 350 years has been at the epicentre of political debate and lively cultural conversations, bringing together the world's most illustrious minds. As well as royalty, film stars, musicians, politicians and intellectuals alike have walked the grounds and dined in the French Dining Room, surrounded by works by Sir Joshua Reynolds, Sir Peter Lely and numerous Old Master paintings.

It is this passion for collecting objects of great significance that will inform the panel discussion The Future of Art: creativity in an age of disruption, chaired by Director of the V&A, Tristram Hunt. He will be joined by Chairman of Sotheby's Europe, Oliver Barker, gallerist Harry Blain, artists Jake and Dinos Chapman and the founder of Chocolate Films, Rachel Wang. The talk will take a detailed look at the shifting face of the art world in 2018, and crucially the opportunities and challenges facing the creative industries in the 21st century. With panellists from every facet of the art world, the discussion promises to delve in to current debates on technology, the environment and the role of mass communication in experiencing and collecting art.

Jake and Dinos Chapman at ARoS, Denmark. © Rachel King.

I am delighted to be contributing to the conversation about the future of art, the title of which, ‘creativity in an age of disruption’, speaks to a subject that is top of our minds. Some might say that in today’s world there can be no creativity without disruption. To be discussed, at length and in lively fashion I expect, in one of the most perfect of settings – a place with a fantastically rich history of cultural exchange, now home to one of the most exceptional events in the literary calendar.”

— Oliver Barker, Chairman of Sotheby's Europe.

You can book tickets for the festival with an exclusive 10% discount using the code ‘SOTH10’ here.

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