Reporter 395, 20 January 1997
Professor Quentin Bell died on December 16 1996 aged 86. He came to Leeds in 1959 from King's College, Newcastle and accepted the Headship of the Department of Fine Art at Leeds on the misunderstanding that he was to institute a practice of art, as he always insisted that the history of art and its practice should go hand in hand. Immediately Quentin startled art history students by introducing life-drawing on Wednesday afternoons.
Throughout his time at Leeds, he continued his own art practice - his 'Dreamer', a cast of a levitating lady, stood for many years next to the Edward Boyle Library.
Quentin Bell's many publications include The Schools of Design (1963); Victorian Artists (1967), Bloomsbury (1968) and a prize winning biography of his aunt, Virginia Woolf (1972). In 1967 he left Leeds to become Professor of the History and Theory of Art at Sussex University, a post he held until retirement in 1977.
Quentin did not suffer fools gladly. He was irreverent towards sacred cows, and he defended the despised. He cared very much about his writing, which is scholarly, plain, yet elegant and full of wit.
Quentin Bell was blessed with creativity, intelligence and kindliness; his removal to Sussex saddened his many friends at Leeds. He continued painting, potting and sculpting until his death. It was our inestimable privilege that he was at Leeds for those eight years.
Paul Field joined the University in 1964 at the age of 15, as a junior technician in the Department of Botany. Paul trained hard and made Grade 7 in 1986, and many junior technicians were themselves trained by Paul.
Paul was more than a colleague to those that he worked with. He had a dry sense of humour, a good supply of optimism and a sensitivity to the feelings of others that made him a friend of workmates from all walks of life.
Paul was a gentleman in both senses of the word. We will miss him terribly.
Director of Studies, Biology
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