After a time as head of personnel, Alistair was made managing director of Sotheby’s Sussex and continued in this role throughout the ‘90s up to 2001 when the business moved to Olympia. Alistair joined Sotheby’s Realty for a short time and then became a Heritage Assets consultant and a consultant for Summers Place Auctions.
Alistair combined his many talents with extreme modesty and a whole generation of valuers, now working in auction houses all over the country, owe him a huge debt for the encouragement and wise advice he imparted over the years.
As a small token of the esteem in which he was held, Summers Place Auctions – which took over the Sotheby’s premises in Sussex – named their gallery after him.
Alistair fought a brave battle against illness in his last few years and he will be sorely missed.
ONE of the leading authorities on the Norwich School of Painting, Dr Peter Kennedy Scott, has died. He was 75.
Over the years he was regularly consulted by the country’s major auction houses, international, national and provincial – showing the same respect to each – as well as by dealers and collectors from across the world.
Peter’s fascination with the painters of the Norwich School and their brother brushes across the border in Suffolk spanned almost half a century.
On qualifying as a doctor in the mid-1960s he turned down the chance to join a lucrative private medical practice in Harley Street in favour of becoming a GP in rural Suffolk, a county he had loved since boyhood.
He soon discovered another and perhaps greater passion in the form of the many begrimed, unfancied and unattributed oil paintings then to be found in the dusty backrooms of East Anglia’s antiques shops.
Perhaps feeling that the great names of John Crome and John Sell Cotman had been sufficiently scrutinised by earlier researchers, Peter concentrated instead on their sons, their pupils and their contemporaries – James Stark and George Vincent, Samuel David Colkett and the extensive dynasties headed by Robert Ladbrooke and Joseph Stannard.
When a painting by Alfred Stannard emerged in a South Coast saleroom in 2010 Peter was delighted to see it; not because it was a sleeper (it had been fully and correctly catalogued) but rather because his exhaustive study of the artist’s oeuvre had convinced him that such a composition – the missing
link between the artist’s earlier and later pictures – must exist.
If approached by an auctioneer he would reveal who had painted a mystery picture but if they did not come to him he would rarely volunteer the information, preferring instead to let friends and fellow aficionados know that a Henry Ladbrooke, an Obadiah Short or a Thomas Lound was slumbering unappreciated in so-and-so’s sale and could, perhaps, be picked up for a song.
Those auctioneers who did come to him (and they included the biggest and most prestigious names in the country) found him to be a quiet, unassuming but meticulous colleague.
Peter enjoyed a particularly long and fruitful association with Keys of Aylsham in Norfolk and was of great help to Kevin Lines, now head of Keys’ picture department, when Kevin was beginning his career with the company.
Recognising his early promise, Peter accompanied Kevin to the Castle Museum in Norwich on many occasions to study the finer points of the Norwich School canvases in the permanent collection, ensuring that his knowledge was passed on to a new generation of experts.
Peter’s book A Romantic Look at Norwich School Landscapes was reviewed in ATG on publication some 15+ years ago.
Peter’s knowledge, scholarship and generous offers of advice and assistance will be greatly missed by Norwich School collectors across the world. He is survived by his wife Pat and by his sons Charles, William and James.
David Stuart Cook