Brian Sewell was a man feared by most yet loved by those who saw a different side to his character; a gentler and less confrontational side than he reputedly had.
As a renowned art critic he lambasted anyone he considered to be more of a celebrity than an artist. His vast knowledge about the art world gave him a status and the respect of many who considered him the best art critic that these shores have ever produced.
Despite leaving a will worth £11 million he insisted on a pauper’s funeral and that his body be donated to medical scientists. And if it was not required for anatomical purposes he asked that it be cremated in the cheapest of pauper’s coffins and that his remains be scattered among the trees in his garden.
As his publisher I found him a most generous and cooperative author, the likes of whom I have seldom encountered. He was without doubt a man who grew on you with the passage of time and gained your respect as an author and friend whose loyalty was rock solid and not contingent on expediency and self-motivated gain.
His death was for me a tragic event and I miss his company and his acerbic sense of humour which was uniquely personal.
I shall never forget him, for our friendship imbued me with a love for the written word, of which he was an accomplished master. His books remain the best testimony of his talent. Any author would have given his right arm to have left a legacy such as Brian’s.
I urge you to read his books with an open mind and enjoy much of his veracious soul-baring. You will not be disappointed.