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My mother and a cultural education


A great knowledge of natural history
Brian Sewell Writer
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I have just answered 1600 questions for a television programme, and so have several other people. And it’s some kind of reverse jokey quiz thing, where you get asked a question and then they say, now before you answer it, you have to say do you think that Brian Sewell or Tom Smith or the Prime Minister or whatever could answer this question? Did he get it right or wrong? And they were astonished at how much I knew about natural history. I knew more about natural history than one of people who had chosen that as his special subject. And that’s what… that’s where my education was. It lay in looking at things in museums. So it’s not entirely a disconnected career, in the sense that I end up by looking at things in galleries and getting paid for it.

Born in England, Brian Sewell (1931-2015) was considered to be one of Britain’s most prominent and outspoken art critics. He was educated at the Courtauld Institute of Art and subsequently became an art critic for the London Evening Standard; he received numerous awards for his work in journalism. Sewell also presented several television documentaries, including an arts travelogue called The Naked Pilgrim in 2003. He talked candidly about the prejudice he endured because of his sexuality.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: television, natural history, quiz, education, museum, career, gallery

Duration: 1 minute, 11 seconds

Date story recorded: 2008

Date story went live: 28 June 2012