THE chairman of one of the world's most famous auction houses is recovering with family after being shot in the face during a Scottish grouse shoot.

Henry Wyndham, 58, chairman and auctioneer at Sotheby's, reportedly sustained serious injuries when he was blasted in the face with 52 lead pellets while at the shooting station on a Scottish moor.

The auctioneer was attending a shoot on a private estate organised by American hedge-fund manager Louis Bacon, 56, when a nearby gun went off, according to claims.

Mr Wyndham, who was hunting on the first day of the grouse shooting season last Monday, also received arm and throat injuries.

A source said: "Henry was very lucky – if he had not been wearing glasses he would have been blinded."

Mr Wyndham was airlifted to hospital and was treated for 52 pellet wounds – a standard cartridge holds 250 pellets. The arts expert has now been released from hospital and is recuperating with family.

A Sotheby's spokesperson said: "Henry Wyndham sustained an accident on the grouse moor and is on track for a full recovery."

Serious shooting accidents are rare but they do increase during the hunting season which traditionally kicks off on August 12 –the "Glorious Twelfth".

This year, however, the season got under way a day late as the twelfth fell on a Sunday, when no shooting is traditionally permitted.