Peter Wilson (auctioneer)

Peter Cecil Wilson CBE (8 March 1913 – 3 June 1984) was an English auctioneer and chairman of Sotheby's.[1][2]

Wilson's father was Sir Matthew Wilson of Eshton Hall, Gargrave, Yorkshire.[2] He was educated at Eton College and at New College, Oxford.[2] He worked for British Intelligence during World War II, in London and Washington DC.[2]

He appeared as a "castaway" on the BBC Radio programme Desert Island Discs on 26 September 1966.[3]

He was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1970, and was made honorary life president of Sotheby's in 1980, when he stood down as chairman.[2] Wilson owned Garden Lodge at Logan Place in London's Kensington district for several years.[4]

He died in Paris in 1984, after being in a coma for a week.[2] He was 71.[2]

Wilson is mentioned in the Ian Fleming story "The Property of a Lady", commissioned by Sotheby's for use in their annual journal, The Ivory Hammer,[5] and which was adapted as the auction sequence in the film Octopussy.


  • WILSON, Peter Cecil, Who Was Who, A & C Black, 1920–2016 (online edition, Oxford University Press, 2014)
  1. ^ Faith, Nicholas (20 June 1993). "Auctioneer who lifted art to new heights". The Independent. Retrieved 1 August 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Reif, Rita (5 June 1984). "Peter C. Wilson, 71, is dead; headed Sotheby's in London". Retrieved 1 August 2014.
  3. ^ "Desert Island Discs - Castaway : Peter Wilson". BBC Online. BBC. Retrieved 27 July 2014.
  4. ^ "Survey of London: Volume 42, Kensington Square To Earl's Court: The Edwardes estate: Pembroke Square, Pembroke Gardens and Pembroke Road area". Victoria County History. 1986. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  5. ^ Benson, Raymond (1988). The James Bond Bedside Companion. London: Boxtree Ltd. ISBN 978-1-85283-233-9.