Obituary: Lord Kenyon

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The Independent Online
AS A TOTAL stranger Lord Kenyon made a deep impression on me as a young man, writes Peter Brooke (further to the obituary by Nicolas Barker, 19 May). The National Portrait Gallery were appealing to buy a great work - I think it was the Reynolds Sterne. I sent a very modest sum. Lord Kenyon, as chairman of the Trustees, sent me a personal letter of thanks. Of such quiet courtesies are great reputations made: I was so profoundly impressed that I quintupled the amount by return.

Years later I bought a small work by mail from Abbott and Holder's catalogue. Lord Kenyon was the second buyer - the work had family relevance - and his bid had presumably been delayed by the mail to and from Wales. Inquiry followed as to whether I could see my way to releasing it, because of the family relevance, and I was happy to do so. His letter afterwards had exactly the same quality of appreciation and sincerity as his first had had. I retain them both with affectionate pleasure: I never met him.

Both episodes encapsulate the warm impression Nicolas Barker afforded of him, both as conscientious trustee and enthusiastic collector.