Henry Wyndham, 58, chairman of Sotheby’s Europe, is believed to have been injured after a gun was accidentally fired towards him while he stood at his post.

It sprayed shot into his arm, throat and face. Doctors believed yesterday his vision has been spared because he was wearing a sturdy pair of spectacles which protected his eyes.

A helicopter ambulance whisked him to hospital from the Scottish moor and he was treated for 52 lead pellet wounds. The shoot had been organised by 56-year-old American hedge-fund manager.

Mr Wyndham an Old Etonian, has been released from hospital and is now recovering at a holiday cottage in Scotland with his family. A source said: “Henry was very lucky. If he had not been wearing glasses, he would have been blinded.”

Mr Wyndham is the highest-ranking auctioneer at the auction house. He swung the gavel when the world record for the most expensive artwork sold at auction was broken in 2010, when Giacometti’s Walking Man sculpture fetched £65.8 million from a mystery buyer.

His sister-in-law said at the family home in Lewes, East Sussex : “He’s fine. There’s no danger to his sight or to his career.

“He’s still up in Scotland and I don’t know when he’s planning to come down.

Sotheby’s spokeswoman Mitzi Mina, said: “We can confirm that Henry Wyndham sustained an accident on the grouse moor and is currently on track for a full and rapid recovery.”