In memoriam, February 2017

by The Art Newspaper  |  1 February 2017
John Berger, the British Marxist art critic and the author of the influential book and television series, Ways of Seeing, died on 2 January, aged 90. After stints at the Chelsea and Central Schools of Art, Berger began his career as a painter and exhibited his works in several London galleries. In 1972, the BBC broadcast his TV series, Ways of Seeing, that established him in the public eye as an art critic. He went on to write novels, sociological investigations and film scripts, as well as art-historical studies.

Anthony Bryer, the scholar of Byzantine history and culture, died on 22 October 2016, aged 78. Bryer studied history at Balliol College, Oxford, and wrote his DPhil on the empire of Trebizond. In 1967 he was appointed to the University of Birmingham where in 1976 he founded a centre for Byzantine studies.

Anne Crookshank, the art historian who pioneered the study of Irish painters, died on 18 October, aged 89. Born in Belfast, she read history at Trinity College, Dublin, and took her MA at the Courtauld Institute of Art, London. In 1957, she became the keeper of paintings at the Belfast Museum, and in 1966 became the founder and director of the art history department of Trinity College, Dublin, where she remained until her retirement in 1987. In collaboration with Desmond FitzGerald, the Knight of Glin, between 1978 and 2002 she wrote a number of pioneering books on Irish painters, then an unexplored area of art history.

James Fairfax, the Australian publisher and patron of the arts, died on 11 January, aged 83. The son of the newspaper proprietor, Warwick Oswald Fairfax, he was a member of the newspaper’s board from 1957 to 1987, serving as chairman from 1977 to 1987. He amassed a $A30m ($22.6m) collection of European Old Masters, including works by Rubens, Claude, Canaletto, Tiepolo, Watteau and Ingres which, over the years, he donated to the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney. He was a governor for life both of the gallery and of the National Gallery of Australia.

Susan, Lady Lasdun, a writer, designer and the widow and champion of her late husband, the architect Denys Lasdun, died on 4 December 2016, aged 87. Trained at the Camberwell School of Art, Susan Bendit studied at Johannesburg Polytechnic for the Arts and worked as an illustrator for the Cape Times. In 1954, she married the architect. She collaborated with him on several designs before turning her attention to writing social histories of the Victorian era. After his death in 2001, she organised his archive which is now housed at the Royal Institute of British Architects.

The Dowager Marchioness of Salisbury (Mollie Gascoyne-Cecil), a leader in the restoration of historic garden designs, most notably of Cecils’ Jacobean seat, Hatfield House, Hertfordshire, died on 12 December, aged 94. Married in 1945 to the eldest grandson of Fourth Marquess of Salisbury, she set about restoring the neglected gardens at the family seat, Hatfield House, when her husband succeeded his father in 1972. Largely self-taught, she nevertheless became a formidable historical and practical authority on gardens and gardening.

The Earl of Snowdon (Antony Armstrong-Jones), the photographer and former husband of Princess Margaret, died on 13 January, aged 86. Armstrong-Jones was educated at Eton and Jesus College, Cambridge. He became a successful society photographer and, moving in high society, he met Princess Margaret, the sister of Queen Elizabeth II. In 1960 they were married and he was ennobled. They had two children, the artist Lady Sarah Chatto and Viscount Linley, a cabinetmaker and the chairman of Christie’s UK, who succeeds his father. Snowdon continued his career as a photographer after the marriage and the couple were divorced in 1978. He was a photographer for The Sunday Times, Vogue and the Telegraph Magazine. His work has appeared in exhibitions worldwide.

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