Born in 1926, Valerie Eliot was an esteemed editor, astute collector, dedicated philanthropist and supporter of literature and the arts. Following the death of her husband T.S. Eliot in 1965, she was entrusted with the role of protecting his legacy. Her life’s work was devoted to preserving his memory, editing and publishing his correspondence and promoting contemporary poetry.
This extraordinary collection amassed over the decades following the success of the West End hit musical Cats, takes us on a journey from Nicholas Hilliard and the mastery of the portrait miniature through to Lucian Freud via Constable, Turner, Hepworth, Churchill and Frink. In addition to collecting art, Valerie established The Old Possum’s Practical Trust, a charitable organisation supporting literary, artistic, musical and theatrical projects and institutions. It is a fitting tribute and a mark of her magnanimity that the proceeds from the sale of her collection this November go towards ensuring the important work of this charitable organisation continues.