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Brian Sewell Archive


The Brian Sewell Archive: An Introduction

This display focuses on the Brian Sewell Archive, which was donated to the Paul Mellon Centre in 2016. The late Brian Sewell was an honorary member of AICA.

Brian Sewell (1931 – 2015) was a British art historian, author, critic, and media personality. After graduating from the Courtauld Institute of Art, he worked at Christie’s from 1957 until 1967, as an independent dealer between 1967 and 1980, and as a journalist, most notably for the Evening Standard, from 1984 until shortly before his death.

The archive is extensive and contains material relating to every aspect of Sewell’s life, from childhood to his final days. The items selected for inclusion in the display represent some of the most significant events in his life and illustrate the varied types of material this collection contains. They follow four main themes: biography, ‘the Blunt affair’, travel, and art criticism and controversy. The items include passports, travel diaries, press-cuttings, postcards, photographs, programmes, letters, as well as a portrait by the artist Zsuzsi Roboz, and a short excerpt from the television programme ‘Episode 1: Turin’ of Brian Sewell’s Grand Tour, released in 2006.

The Brian Sewell Archive is not yet catalogued in detail, but boxlists are online.

If you are interested in viewing the collection, please contact Research Collections staff by emailing: collections@paul-mellon-

Seminar Room, Paul Mellon Centre

16 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3JA


Clip from Episode 1, Brian Sewell’s Grand Tour, 2006, excerpt 16:52–19:30.
Digital image courtesy of WAG tv, Dir. Christopher Bruce