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How the other half live! Striking sculptures from superyacht owned by billionaires up for auction

Posted on 09/02/2021 in Press Coverage

Striking floral sculptures that once adorned a superyacht could sail off to new owners for thousands of pounds at auction – and offer a glimpse of the lives of the super-rich.

The sculptures by Herb (Herbert) Babcock, an American artist born in 1946, were part of the interior design aboard superyacht Pelorus, which was once owned by Russian-Israeli billionaire businessman and Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich. The sculptures’ glass colours were used to represent port and starboard.

The works of art are set to go under the hammer in Hanson Holloway’s Ross’s (HHR) March 5-6 Spring Fine Art Auction in Banbury, Oxfordshire, with an estimate of £3,000-£5,000 each.

Jasper Marsh, senior valuer at HHR, said: “These are exceptional pieces of 20th century art by a world-renowned sculptor whose work appears in numerous galleries and private collections. These sculptures offer people an opportunity to own objects which are not only important in their own right but have the provenance of being associated with some of the world’s wealthiest people.”

Pelorus was commissioned by Saudi Arabian businessman Sheikh Abdul Mohsen Abdulmalik Al-Sheikh and built at the Lürssen subsidiary repair shipyard in Schacht-Audorf Rendsburg, Germany. The conceptual design was completed in 1999, work began in 2000 and the yacht entered service in 2003.

It was sold to Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich during its maiden voyage. He had it altered by Blohm & Voss and changes included adding a second helicopter pad on top of the wheelhouse.

When owned by Abramovich, the yacht had a full-time crew of up to 46 plus a large security contingent that travelled with his family. Pelorus would cruise the western Mediterranean during the summers and commonly ventured down through the Suez Canal in winter.

In 2005, Abramovich lent Pelorus to Frank Lampard and John Terry for two weeks as a bonus for being the two best players at Chelsea the previous season. He also allowed Terry to honeymoon with wife Toni Poole on the yacht in 2007.

Irina Abramovich received the yacht in 2009 as part of a divorce settlement and it has been sold on a few times since. In 2011, it was purchased by Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan for 214 million euros and has since been sold privately to another billionaire.

The sculptures, from Herb Babcock’s Pillared Series which included metal and stone, are due to be sold at Hanson Holloway’s Ross, Banbury, Oxfordshire, in their March 5-6 Spring Fine Art Auction. To find out more, email [email protected]

More entries are invited for HHR's March auction.