Learn From the World's Best in the MayDay Charity Auction

Learn From the World's Best in the MayDay Charity Auction

I n the midst of the today’s global health crisis, new waves of kindness have risen from the panic in the most unlikely form: technology paired with solidarity. As the virus has spread throughout the world, kindness has manifested itself in some of the most heart touching and often viral moments. Whether it’s singing from the Italian rooftops or Andrew Lloyd Webber #ComposingInIsolation with his joyous Hosanna sing-a-long, we have found ways to come together that have revealed our most altruistic side.

Staying at home has meant that we have become creative and resourceful in finding new ways to participate, experience and most importantly, learn. As Sotheby’s and Google come together for the MayDay COVID-19 Charity Auction to raise funds for the International Rescue Committee to support those most impacted by the spread of COVID-19, we have asked some of today’s most fascinating personalities to bring their expertise virtually into your home, providing a new and exceptional way in which to learn. All experiences are offered without reserve and estimates of $100–1,000,000.

Contemporary British artist Marc Quinn will offer the opportunity to co-create your own digital masterpiece, under his advice and guidance. Quinn often explores the themes of identity, environment and media within his work, considering "what it means to be human in the world today" – a very provocative and relevant notion during today’s health crisis. Learn about the way he approaches a new project and what inspires him as you watch your own artwork take shape.

“I am proud to be part of this magical virtual charity auction with Sotheby’s and Google, where 100% of proceeds are being donated to the International Rescue Committee. There are so many wonderful experiences in the auction – including an exclusive brush-along with me – donated by many incredible people. Happy bidding, darlings!”
- Charlotte Tilbury

Known for her magic touch and transformative products, world-leading make up artist to the stars, Charlotte Tilbury has a cult celebrity following and her bestselling make-up range is a staple within the industry. Her tutorial videos receive hundreds of thousands of views, but the winning bidder on her lot will have the opportunity to enjoy a customised virtual lesson tailored to their exact requirements.

Sir Paul Smith, the iconic fashion designer, known for his impeccable suiting and signature stripes, is a paragon of British taste. Join him for a virtual cup of coffee and private tour of his personal office where you will learn how he approaches designing for his new collections, how he is inspired and receive personal styling advice.

Journalist Lionel Barber has done his fair share of interviewing some of the most extraordinary figures of the 21st century from Barack Obama to Vladimir Putin to David Cameron. Now he's in the hot seat himself as you have the opportunity to grill the man who served as editor of the Financial Times from 2005 until 2020. Discover what this veteran journalist has to say about how the world, and its media, is responding to the exceptional current situation.

It is impossible to predict how the global pandemic will affect life long-term, but we do know that we will be emerging into a very different economic landscape. Whether you’re already a business owner or are in the midst of planning a new business model, two lots in the MayDay sale will offer priceless insight from experts within this field. Bid on a one-to-one business coaching session with entrepreneur and New York Times bestselling author Tim Ferriss. Known for his innovative approach to work, and for his podcast exploring the daily routines of extraordinary people, Ferriss will tailor the session to your specific needs and impart invaluable advice to move your business forward.

Alternatively, learn how renowned businessman Sir Martin Stuart Sorrell would approach the unusual circumstances in which we currently find ourselves, from a business point of view. As founder of the world’s largest advertising and PR group WPP, and a veteran board member of leading business schools around the world, Sir Martin is a leading authority on starting and managing businesses, and uniquely positioned to consider how the economic big picture will pan out.

We're all missing out on the joyful experience of watching music performed live so the prospect of a private recital by the exceptional cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason MBE is especially mouthwatering. The acclaimed young star shot to global fame when he performed at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in 2018, and he has since played at the BBC Proms and the BAFTA awards ceremony at the Royal Albert Hall. Find out about his meteoric rise and incredible experiences in a video chat before enjoying a living room concert where he will be accompanied by his pianist sister, Isata Kanneh-Mason.

Additionally, iconic musician Sting is offering a vocal coaching session from his home studio where he will sing with you in harmony. With both musical lots, you come away with an unforgettable experience, but also unique songs to share with family and friends you might be missing.

Explore your own artistic side with a virtual drawing class with esteemed artist and illustrator Charlie Mackesy. Author of best-selling book The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse, Mackesy's career has included being cartoonist for The Spectator and illustrator for the Oxford University Press, and not only will the winning bidder experience an hour-long art class with him, but also a personalised illustration to keep forever.

“We have to learn some lessons from this Coronavirus, while at the same time take care of each other - particularly the most fragile among us - so to be able to help in any way I can, by taking part in this auction to raise money for the International Recuse Committee’s work, well it is really a beautiful thing.”
Sean Scully

Or immerse yourself in the world of two time Turner Prize nominee, artist Sean Scully, with a private virtual tour of his studio. One of the most important living artists in the world today, Scully is know for his large abstract paintings and also for working in diverse media. This is an exciting opportunity to peek inside his workspace and hear about the evolution of a career that spans more than fifty years.

Actor and comedian Sacha Baron Cohen is perhaps best known for his ability to transform entirely into characters like Ali G, Borat and Brüno but the winning bidder on his lot will be able to chat to the man himself about writing jokes, pushing the boundaries of comedy and what it takes to immerse yourself entirely in a role.

Sing with Sting, Act with Patrick Stewart and Other Virtual Experiences in Star-Studded Charity Auct

The extraordinary opportunity to take a Shakespeare class with Sir Patrick Stewart OBE is another once in a lifetime opportunity. The veteran actor has been spending isolation reading daily Shakespeare sonnets on Twitter, and now he’s offering to pass on his wisdom when it comes to performing the Bard’s work. Having started his acting career at the Royal Shakespeare Company and performed the roles of Prospero, Othello, Anthony, Macbeth and Claudius in Hamlet (for which he won an Olivier Award), Sir Patrick has dedicated decades to his craft, immersing himself in these infamous stage roles and dazzling audiences. For an hour, he will share what he has learned, and help you polish your own interpretations of the most important works in literary history.

In a personal video chat, champion cyclist Geraint Thomas will take you through the mental grit it takes to win. From mental and physical training, dedication to competition, sportsmanship and mind over matter, you will learn how one of the most decorated athletes today is always striving for more. In addition to contributing his experience to Sotheby’s MayDay auction in an effort to raise money to support the IRC, the 2018 Tour de France winner has additionally raised over £374,000 for the NHS by riding his bike in his garage for 3 x 12 hour 'shifts', mirroring a typical NHS worker’s shift pattern.

Finally, renowned Michelin-starred chef, Heston Blumenthal will offer his expertise with a virtual cooking lesson. He will guide you through preparing steak and triple cooked chips for your family while sharing some of his top tips and conversation.

Sotheby’s will donate 100% of the proceeds from this sale to the Internal Rescue Committee. These moments of virtual experiences truly open up new lines of communication on a local and global scale. They celebrate solidarity, togetherness and ultimately create new waves of all-important ‘good news’ stories, hopefully inspiring others to give and create their own acts of generosity.

Bid on all virtual experiences in the MayDay: Covid-19 Charity Auction here until 8 May

100% of the proceeds will be donated to the IRC by the experience providers. Buyer’s Premium will be charged on all lots and 100% will be donated by Sotheby’s to the IRC.


Funds raised from the auction will support the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in their efforts to mitigate and respond to the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak within vulnerable communities in the United States and across Europe. From distributing meals in New York City to translating public health guidance into numerous languages for communities across Europe, the IRC response is built on years of experience in supporting people affected by conflict, crisis, and disaster in over 40 countries around the globe, and providing aid to the most vulnerable populations that are always impacted the hardest when a crisis happens.

The experiences can be enjoyed virtually via Google Meet video calls during this period of lockdown. Google Meet provides premium video conferencing built on Google’s robust and secure global infrastructure.

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