Brian Sewell, who is no longer with us, is sorely missed by those who knew him well and had the privilege of working with him. He was a man who relished friendships while at the same time was a formidable art critic who spared no one he considered to be a charlatan or who claimed to be above his station. He admired exceptional talent and would not give credit to anyone unless it was well deserved.
Working for the Evening Standard for many decades, it was the then editor Max Hastings who gave him a general comment column to write and some of these writings eventually won him the Orwell Prize.
A selection of these essays are now published by Quartet Books in a paperback edition.
Mike Parker, in his review for the Tribune magazine, had this to say about the author, who he referred to as fogeyish but humane: ‘He often had interesting and insightful things to say about the art he liked. He was elegant, idiosyncratic often predictable, sometimes surprising and equally humane in a privileged, admittedly old fogeyish, sort of way.
‘Sewell’s subjects ranged from child labour to addiction, fishing to Zionism, even Turkey in the EU. This selection offers a pretty comprehensive portrait of the author who died in 2012.’
Apart from being his publisher and friend I urge people who haven’t secured a copy of this little gem of a book to acquaint themselves with a man who is uniquely readable and a talent of exceptional dimensions.