Bonhams, auctioning contemporary art

  • Reading College
  • Cranford Community College

Club members from Reading College Art&Design Club and Cranford Community College Art&Design and Writing&Talking Clubs had the opportunity to take part in a Masterclass in art auctioneering at Bonhams, London.

Led by Ralph Taylor, Global Head Post-War and Contemporary Art, and team, Club members were given an insight into the auction process and the journey of an artwork, including how it is conserved, valued, described and sold.

Through a series of workshops the young people discovered the commercial art world, gained an understanding of the art auction process and built their confidence in talking about contemporary art.

The Masterclass culminated in an energetic mock auction where a young person from each Club bravely took to the podium and took on the role of auctioneer, taking bids and using the terminology they had learnt to drive up the sale price.


Club member taking on the role of auctioneer

Club member taking on the role of auctioneer

The young people developed their auctioneering vocabulary, learning key words and phrases

Ralph Taylor introduced young people to the world of contemporary art auctions

Club members learnt about how works are described and catalogued

Ralph Taylor led a workshop on the role of the auctioneer

Club members got close up with the art works to understand how they are valued

There was a chance to speak to the Bonhams team about individual artworks on sale

Club members met members of the Bonhams team to find out about their job roles

Details of artworks were studied to reveal how they affect the value of a piece

The Masterclass culminated in a mock auction with the young bidding and auctioning lots

All Masterclasses


Support a creative education programme

Stay in touch

Sign up for the National Saturday Club newsletter