Fri Mar 23, 2018 London

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Luxury and the artsFrom houses to cars and from Hockney to van Dyck, a profile of the best and the worst

The Bentley of Taste

Bentley R-Type Continental Fastback originally owned by the son of the founder of clothing giant Burton heads to auction at the Salon Privé sale


Sir Montague Burton described himself as “The Tailor of Taste” and with the success of his Burton empire, which at one point had 616 shops, came prosperity. In 1954, reflecting the newfound status of a by then extremely wealthy family, his son purchased a Bentley R-Type Continental Fastback and now that vehicle will be auctioned at the Salon Privé sale at Blenheim Palace on the evening of Friday 4th September.


The Bentley of Taste – Burton founder’s Bentley to be auctioned – 1954 Bentley R-Type Continental Fastback
The Bentley of Taste – 1954 Bentley R-Type Continental Fastback
The Bentley of Taste – Burton founder’s son's Bentley to be auctioned – 1954 Bentley R-Type Continental Fastback
The Tailor of Taste – Sir Montague Burton (1885 – 1952)
The Bentley of Taste – Burton founder’s son's Bentley to be auctioned – 1954 Bentley R-Type Continental Fastback
Raymond Burton CBE (1917 – 2011)


Born Meshe David Osinsky in 1885 and a Lithuanian Jew, Montague Burton – as he became – moved to Britain in 1900 with just £100 in his pocket (the equivalent of £10,988 today) and started his career as a peddler. He later set up as a tailor selling ready-made suits and by 1929 had built up a business with 14 factories and mills and 616 shops. A true rags-to-riches success story, Sir Montague Maurice Burton made a quarter of the British military uniforms during World War II and a third of demobilisation clothing. In time, the catchphrases “It’s Gone For a Burton” and “The Full Monty” became synonymous with the company.


One of three sons of Sir Montague, Raymond Burton CBE was born alongside his identical twin, Arnold, in Leeds on 3rd November 1917. He was educated at Clifton College and went on to study at Trinity College, Cambridge and Harvard and then served in the Royal Artillery in India and Ceylon. Aside from then becoming joint chairman and president of Burton, Raymond Burton was well known as a philanthropist, collector of fine furniture and silver and a regular worshiper at the West London Synagogue. His obituary, published in The Telegraph, declared him as loving “international rallying with his brother Arnold in the 1950s” and “pleased with a small MG in his sprightly mid-eighties”. He died in 2011.


Originally delivered to “lifelong car buff” Burton in Circassian Blue, the H. J. Mulliner coachbuilt car on offer has been renovated by the current owner but retains its original hide interior and bespoke luggage set. It is described as being “in outstanding overall condition” and having a “powerful 4.9-litre engine [that] pulls smoothly and strongly”.


Silverstone Auctions have set a guide price of £900,000 to £1,100,000 ($1.4 million to $1.7 million or €1.2 million to €1.5 million) for the car.


To book tickets to Salon Privé (Thursday 4th to Saturday 6th September) at Blenheim Palace, click here.



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