Almost the first words Robert Devereux says to me are: “I don’t like the word ‘collector’. I don’t like labels. I don’t call myself a patron either.” And yet he is very much both, however he describes himself. He has accumulated more than 1,000 works of art, half of them postwar British, the other 500 or so by artists from Africa or the African diaspora.

On October 13, Christie’s will disperse 74 of the African works, with at least 20 per cent of the proceeds going to arts and environmental charities including Gasworks, The Africa Centre, the African Arts Trust (£3mn beneficiary of an earlier sale of his collection) and the Lamu Environmental Foundation.

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