Sir Howard Colvin
Thursday 03 January 2008
Richard Hewlings says that Howard Colvin [obituary, 1 January] "will be most remembered for his scholarly output",
writes Andor Gomme. It is certainly for the range, depth and accuracy of his scholarship that the wider public will know him. But I believe that his many colleagues and friends will remember above all the unstinting warmth of his generosity and, especially towards younger scholars, his care to help them into fruitful paths of discovery. No request for advice ever went unanswered carefully considered replies came back as often as not by return of post and though the more ambitious proposals might be met with cautions, these always took the form of encouragements to try what his so much wider knowledge and experience would suggest as a more promising line.
I was myself deeply indebted to him when, many years ago, I became interested in the work of the prominent 18th-century master-builder Francis Smith of Warwick. Not knowing that Colvin was himself thinking of a book on Smith, I wrote to him for advice: his response was not only to resign his proposal in favour of mine but to hand over to me all the material which he had already gathered. My book took so long to be written and finally published that he must sometimes have pondered the wisdom of his gift, but he never ceased to ply me with encouragement and new discoveries of his own. The essential thing for him was that the truth should be told, whoever was the teller.
Howard Colvin was personally a shy man, and though his respect for truth was absolute, he did not enjoy public controversy, especially not where strained personal relationships might be involved. On the only occasion on which I was present when he was asked to comment on what he plainly felt to be a mischievous attack on another scholar, though his severity was patent, so were his reserve and care to minimise the distress of those concerned. He was a man in whose emotional as well as intellectual integrity everyone who knew him will have had total trust.
Is your name now 'banned' in Saudi Arabia?
Seth Rogen compiles list of all the celebrities he’s got high with
Oscar Pistorius trial: Photographs of Paralympian splattered in blood shown in court
Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Satellite ‘pings sent five hours after contact was lost' the only clue in hunt for £160m plane
Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: New radar evidence suggests missing plane may have been hijacked
Katie Hopkins continues campaign to become Britain's most hated talking head with poorly timed Bob Crow tweet
No EU referendum under Labour: Ed Miliband to reveal that vote on membership is ‘unlikely’ in next Parliament if party wins power
Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
Europeans have ‘got whiter’ due to natural selection in past 5,000 years, scientists say
Fracking is turning the US into a bigger oil producer than Saudi Arabia
The rise of Ukip: Study warns Labour that Eurosceptic party's electoral base now 'more working class than any of the main parties'
- 1 Is your name now 'banned' in Saudi Arabia?
- 2 Sailor who kissed a nurse in famous WWII photograph dies aged 86
- 3 Best films on Netflix: 32 movies that will put an end to your scrolling
- 4 Istanbul protesters take 'Ellen selfie' from the back of a police van
- 5 Lady Gaga has struggled with eating disorders in the past, so it's indefensible that she's glamourising bulimia in her SXSW set
£50000 - £60000 per annum: Charter Selection: This well respected and exciting...
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Charter Selection: This exciting company and market...
£40000 - £60000 per annum + EXCELLENT SALARY: Austen Lloyd: Senior Private Cli...
£25,000 to £35,000: IT Connections Ltd: Signal Processing Engineer / Acoustics...