Humphrey Brooke

My second choice of painting from the RA’s own collection is going to be the picture of Humphrey Brooke, one of my predecessors as Secretary.   He died in 1988, but his widow, Nathalie, is still very much alive and comes to events.   He came from a grand Yorkshire family, was a so-called Monuments Man during the second world war, worked in Austria after the war where he met Nathalie Benckendorff, was deputy director of the Tate, and became Secretary of the RA in 1952.   He suffered from manic depression and believed it could only be cured by sex and smoking.  His portrait by Olwyn Bowey shows the latter, a man of the establishment, comfortably enjoying a fag.

Humphrey Brooke (1914–1988) by Olwyn Bowey. (c) The Royal Academy of Arts

Humphrey Brooke (1914–1988)
by Olwyn Bowey. (c) The Royal Academy of Arts

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