From the Archives: Stories to Enlighten, Inspire and Delight

From the Archives: Stories to Enlighten, Inspire and Delight


W e know many of you are home right now as the world confronts this global health crisis. Art can offer an excellent escape and source of inspiration, and so we searched our archive for some of our favorite stories and videos from the past few years. Go behind the scenes at Van Cleef and Arpels on the Place Vendôme, hear Paul Smith describe his beginnings as a fashion designer and a collector, or learn how to start your own world-class whisky collection. We hope you enjoy reading and watching these stories as much as we enjoyed creating them.

For the Love of Art

Alain de Botton is a renowned philosopher and author, who co-wrote the book Art as Therapy with art historian John Armstrong. He is also the founder of The School of Life, a global organisation that helps people weather crises and cope with emotional challenges – and that publishes a range of books and offers online courses and psychotherapy.

As we live through unprecedented times, he considers the capacity of art to console, connect and comfort. Looking at works spanning six centuries, he argues that art offers us validation, courage, resilience, optimism and perspective.

Alain de Botton on the Uses of Art in the Storm

Collecting Guides

One of the many joys of collecting is discovering an artwork or category that is new, and embarking on a passionate journey of learning. To help you get started, focus your research, or provide depth of knowledge, our specialists have created invaluable guides regardless of where you interests lie – be it watches, rare whiskies, or everything in between.

How Diamonds Get Their Color

Frank's Files

When it comes to the history of the world's most magnificent jewels, we turn to the esteemed expertise of Frank Everett, sales director of Sotheby's Luxury Division. In his long-running video series, Frank and friends – including Stacy London and Stellene Vollandes – preview spectacular pieces coming to auction, and in a special series, Frank visits the workshops and ateliers of some of the most celebrated jewelry houses.

Frank’s Files: A Rare Look Inside the David Webb Workshop

Discovery Stories

Perhaps nothing beats the surprise of discovering new artworks that emerge from the course of history, and at Sotheby's we have chronicled plenty of these joyous moments. This beautiful painting – The Billiards Player by Willem Bastiaan Tholen – remained in the same family since purchase, and had not been seen in public since 1930, when it was last exhibited.

A Pair of Equine-Themed Japanese Kano Screens

Treasures from Chatsworth

Chatsworth House, in the United Kingdom, is home to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, and has been passed down through 16 generations of the Cavendish family. The house is renowned for the quality of its art, landscape and hospitality, and has evolved through the centuries to reflect the tastes, passions and interests of succeeding generations, standing today among the most important stately homes in the UK. Rich with thousands of objects, the Devonshire Collection represents a grand tradition of collecting spanning half a millennium, and is widely celebrated as one of the most significant collections of art and objects in Europe.

Episode 8: The Changing Face of Portraiture

More Episodes

A Life Less Ordinary

Part of the beauty of our profile series, A Life Less Ordinary, is sitting down with artists, creatives and collectors to learn what inspires them every day. Find out how a visit to The Frick Collection in New York lit Victoria Beckham’s passion for Old Master portraits and how this new love is now inspiring her future fashion designs. Join us on our visits with Smith, David Arsham, Sir Paul Smith, Marc Jacobs and many others to learn how these imaginative individuals are transformed by the art around them.

Anjelica Huston Remembers What Made Robert Graham ‘L.A.’s Sculptor’

The Value of Art

Sotheby's 10-part video series, The Value of Art, presented by Sotheby's Financial Services, explores the numerous criteria that Sotheby’s specialists consider when assigning value to a work of art: authenticity, condition, rarity and provenance chief among them. In the second episode, Sotheby's experts reveal how they correctly assess a work’s physical state, and how "perfection" is a nuanced matter.

Episode 8: Subject Matter

More From Sotheby's

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