I am learning things I did not previously know about my older brother, John, from his obituaries which appear in today’s Times and Telegraph. In particular, I had never heard the description of him by the late Michael Russell: ‘“If some old bag he had never seen before asked, in Latin, for a rare gardening book, there are two certainties about John: first that it would take him about 40 seconds to identify the book correctly, and second, it would take him about two minutes to recognise the old bag as the Queen of Iceland.”
2 thoughts on “John Saumarez Smith (2)”
Deepest condolences for the loss of your brother who sounds like a most singular and exceptional man. Clearly these traits run in the family…
Dear Charles, please accept my condolences on the death of your brother John. I had the great fortune to have been a customer in Heywood Hill, he would send me books to Canada, where I was living during the 90s. Though I would only visit the shop three or four times a year, upon entering he would immediately ask about recent books he had sent, a feat of memory that always amazed me. He would send books he thought I might like,and his choices were always correct. Truly his like will not be seen again, a man who obviously mixed with Prince’s but encouraged and indulged lesser souls like myself, without a scintilla of condescension.