OBITUARY : Trevor Russell-Cobb

One of the first in Britain to advocate industrial patronage of the arts, Trevor Russell-Cobb was a man of strongly independent views. These were sometimes perceived as eccentric, but they sprang from a bedrock of intellectual pursuits.

His 1968 monograph Paying the Piper - the theory and practice of industrial patronage was a pioneering work. Its prime objective was "to persuade industry to play a fuller part in the communities from which it draws its sustenance by spending money in support of art and artists". Practising what he preached, Russell-Cobb commissioned on behalf of his own company works from John Gardner for the 1963 Farnham Festival and from Malcolm Williamson for the 1968 Brighton Festival.

Brought up in a musical household (from the age of six he accompanied his mother, who taught singing at the Webber-Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art) and educated at Wellington College, Russell-Cobb trained as a pianist at the Royal College of Music. His first paid job was in the London Stock Exchange, but this was not at all his metier. With the outbreak of the Second World War he enlisted in the Welsh Guards, rising to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel.

While working at the British Council he enrolled at London University as an external student and took two degrees, the first, a BA in English in 1952 and the second a BSc (Econ) in 1956. Tempted by the remuneration, he took a job in Geneva for the United Nations on the staff of its technical assistance programme, but did not find international diplomacy a sufficient challenge and returned to his favourite city, London. Having become a director of the public relations consultants Campbell Johnson, he set up his own PR consultancy, Russell-Cobb Limited. This was a career that occupied him on and off for the rest of his working life.

A lover of music and a talented pianist, Russell-Cobb was a director of the English Chamber Orchestra from 1953 to 1978. He was elected to the Council of the Royal Society of Arts in 1972 and became its Treasurer for five years from 1978. He worked to raise money for the Victorian Society and launched Enterprise Neptune for the National Trust. He was until his death a trustee of the Sir John Soane Museum and succeeded Lord (Asa) Briggs as Chairman of the Foundation for Ephemera Studies. He was a life member of numerous learned societies, the Johnson Society, the William Morris Society and the Society of Architectural Historians being his favourites.

Trevor Russell-Cobb had a wide circle of friends and an impressive general knowledge. Over the years he amassed a library of over 30,000 books, which were his pride and joy. There was virtually no booklist or second-hand bookshop with which he was unfamiliar.

Leslie Sayers

Trevor Russell-Cobb, public relations consultant: born Chalfont St Peter, Buckinghamshire 3 February 1918; married 1940 Suzanne Chambers (one son, one daughter; marriage dissolved), 1952 Nan Piquet-Wicks (nee Stanley Hughes, died 1979; two sons); died London 31 January 1996.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: Internal Recruiter - Manufacturing

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Internal Recruiter (manufact...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager (CIPD) - Barking / East Ham - £50-55K

£50000 - £55000 per annum + 25 days holidays & benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Man...

Recruitment Genius: Operations / Project Manager

£40000 - £48000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This software company specialis...

Ashdown Group: Human Resources Manager

£28000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: A successful organisation...

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future