The Sewell sword

The Oldie - - READERS' LETTERS -

SIR: I en­joyed read­ing about Brian Sewell in your March is­sue (Me­mo­rial Ser­vice). The fa­mous and pre­ten­tious ob­vi­ously had much to fear from his pen and his tongue. Although I am not fa­mous, I can claim the hon­our of hav­ing been at­tacked in print by Mr Sewell. It came to his no­tice that a Vic­to­rian pic­ture, of rus­tics in an inn tor­ment­ing a mon­key in a jug, had been re­moved from the walls of the Cooper Art Gallery in Barns­ley. The rea­son was to send it for con­ser­va­tion, but a con­spir­acy the­ory had arisen sug­gest­ing that its re­moval was for rea­sons of po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness. Mr Sewell rode into the at­tack by call­ing on the cit­i­zens of Barns­ley to rise up in their thou­sands and to throw out the trus­tees of the Cooper Art Gallery (for po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness). For­tu­nately for me, as chair­man of the trus­tees, the cit­i­zens of Barns­ley re­mained largely un­moved by his call. In any event, not only did the gallery sur­vive the Sewell at­tack but, with the help of a grant from the Her­itage Lot­tery Fund, it is now be­ing dou­bled in size so that many more pic­tures from our won­der­ful col­lec­tion can be seen by the cit­i­zens of Barns­ley and else­where. The gallery will re-open in June this year, still with free ad­mis­sion, so come and have a look.

Paul Elmhirst, Still­ingfleet, York.

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