AUCTIONED: Tracey Emin Piper-Heidsieck Champagne Nebuchadnezzar

Piper-Heidsieck Nebuchadnezzar by Tracey Emin - Full

London auction house Christie’s has cause for celebration after the sale of a one-of-a-kind artwork by Tracey Emin for the mammoth sum of £30,000. At Emin’s request, all proceeds were donated to the HIV and sexual health charity The Terence Higgins Trust. The piece, a hand-painted king-size champagne bottle, was auctioned on 17th October alongside a selection of works that have previously been exhibited at the Saatchi Gallery. Fifty artists, including Emin as well as the Chapman Brothers, Toby Zeigler, Conrad Shawcross and Sterling Ruby saw their pieces auctioned at Christie’s as part of the Thinking Big exhibition, which ran from the 12th-18th October in London’s iconic Sorting Office.

DJ Issac Ferry


The sale of the pieces, which were part of Charles Saatchi’s extensive collection of works by ‘Young British Artists’, was in support of the Saatchi Gallery’s policy for free entry to exhibitions and free education programs in schools. Guests at the auction rubbed shoulders with stars from the worlds of art and fashion including Nancy Dell’Olio, DJ Isaac Ferry and Eve.  Refreshments came in the form of Piper-Heidsieck champagne, who were also the providers of the giant bottle – known as a Nebuchadnezzar – painted by Emin.  Containing the equivalent of 20 standard-size bottles of champagne, it’s the largest size that’s commercially available to buy.

Nancy Dell'alio

Rob Remnant, Managing Director of Piper-Heidsieck, said that he was “delighted to be working with Christie’s as their official champagne partner.  The Thinking Big event is very consistent with Piper-Heidsieck’s values of inspiration and contemporary elegance with a bold approach.  Quality is at the heart of everything we do.”

The champagne flowed well into the evening as guests celebrated the day’s successful auction at the Vanity Fair Contemporary Art Party, hosted by Christie’s at the Sorting Office. One person who was particularly pleased with the proceedings was Sir Nick Partridge, Chief Executive of the Terence Higgins Trust.  “The funds raised by this sale will help us be there for people who are in desperate need,” he said.  “Tracey [Emin] is a long-time supporter of our charity and we are immensely grateful for everything she has done, and continues to do, to help improve the lives of people with HIV.”

Words: Thea de Gallier