Letter : The lighter side of Sir Nikolaus Pevsner

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The Independent Online
Jonathan Glancey's portrait of Nikolaus Pevsner ("The Doktor goes for a drive", Review, 9 March) was much too grim, and so was the photo. No doubt Pevsner could be nanny-ish. No one could do so much without running other people occasionally into the ground.

I was one of his students at Birkbeck. Glancey missed entirely Pevsner's vast sense of fun. He was a great informal teacher and he enjoyed wit if it had point. Pevsner's Anglophilia fully embraced the English sense of humour. I continued to meet him after my student days and recall his smiling face more vividly than his serious one.

He was not the most brilliant of art historians, not of the quality of Wittkower and Gombrich. But he was an enthusiast and delighted in the informality of English academic ways after what he had known in Leipzig and Munich.

Professor Norbert Lynton