Letter: In Defence of the Acerbic Art Criticism of Brian Sewell

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Sir: I have never met Brian Sewell, but my experience of him has shown an entirely different side to the one complained about by the petitioners for his dismissal ("Critic caught in the line of artistic fire", 6 January).

In 1988 I was badly injured in a road accident. After prolonged convalescence, during which I gained much of my spiritual sustenance from painting, without the benefit of institutional support, I decided to undertake a course of study in fne art with a view to gaining greater insight than I could as a self-taught painter. I attempted to contact the Arts Council, and subsequently the tutors of several major London art schools, to inquire about the ways of going about this. My inquiries were met with indifference until, after several months, I wrote to Brian Sewell at the Evening Standard asking if he would examine my portfolio.

To my surprise, he agreed to appraise my work and I sent him some 70 slides (with misgivings, as I had only the one copy of each). They were returned undamaged after two or three weeks, in a carefully wrapped parcel, with a letter listing their weaknesses and praising their strengths, and suggesting some avenues I might consider to remedy my situation. …