Antiques Owned By Pizza Express Founder Auctioned In Stamford

  Posted: 03.04.19 at 11:04 by The Editor

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Jazz memorabilia and antiques once owned by Pizza Express founder, Peter Boizot, will go under the hammer at an auction in Stamford this weekend.

The sale at Batemans on Saturday (April 6) of items from the estate of the legendary Peterborough entrepreneur, who died last December, includes two rare jazz-themed bronze sculptures by Nicholas Dimbleby, the brother of broadcasters David and Jonathan.

Depicting jazz supremo Duke Ellington standing at a grand piano, clicking his fingers keeping time, the 48.5cm tall sculptures are maquettes – preliminary models – for a life-sized sculpture commissioned by Boizot for the Soho Jazz Festival he founded.

Installed at Soho Square, London, near Ronnie Scott's jazz club, the large statute had to be removed after a planning row and was sited in the grounds of the Great Northern Hotel, Peterborough, but mysteriously went missing when the hotel was sold in 2009, never to be seen again.

Boizot spent a great deal of time and money attempting to retrieve the sculpture – at one point offering a cash reward - however police closed the investigation in 2010 having exhausted all lines of inquiry.

To this day it remains a great missing art mystery.


Both smaller statues on sale at Batemans are expected to fetch over £1,000 each.

Other Boizot-owned jazz artefacts under the hammer include a collection of books, several author-signed, including Jazz at Ronnie Scott's by Kitty Grime, signed by Ronnie Scott and Kitty Grime.

There is also an event poster for pianist Art Hodes’ performances at Pizza Express, 10 Dean Street, Soho, with a hand-written letter to Boizot from Hodes about the event dated July 1, 1977.

A Buffet Crampon and Cie a Paris Bb clarinet, circa 1940s, serial 36320, with additional Vandoren A2 crystal mouthpiece and spare reeds, all in a black Boosey and Hawkes fitted carry case, is also on sale.

Peter Boizot opened the first PizzaExpress in Wardour Street, Soho, in 1965, shipping an authentic pizza oven over from Naples and sourcing real mozzarella from the only producer in London. He was also the first person to import Peroni beer into the UK.


He adored jazz music, turning the basement of one Dean Street Pizza Express site into a jazz club which hosted famous performers such as Jamie Cullum and Norah Jones.

Boizot was a former owner of Peterborough United FC, the Broadway Theatre in Peterborough and the Great Northern Hotel. He was an avid art collector throughout his life.

To view the catalogue for the Fine Sale & Specialist Collectors (Toys & Models) auction, click the red panel under this story - or go to www.batemans.com.

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