Michael Vincent Levey 1927–2008

Christopher White

in Proceedings of the British Academy, Volume 161, Biographical Memoirs of Fellows, VIII

Published by British Academy

Published in print December 2009 | ISBN: 9780197264577
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734267 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

Michael Vincent Levey 1927–2008

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Michael Vincent Levey (1927–2008), a Fellow of the British Academy, devoted his professional career to the National Gallery, becoming one of its most distinguished and effective directors. During his time in office (1973–1987), he was substantially responsible for modernising the Gallery in both its attitudes and services to the public. New programmes were introduced and new galleries were built, and, most important of all, a number of masterpieces were added to the collection. At a New Year's Eve party in 1953, Levey met Brigid Brophy, an up-and-coming novelist, the daughter of the writer John Brophy. Love was instantaneous and in six months they were married. His most wide-ranging innovation in the administration of the National Gallery was the creation of a fully professional Education Department. At his death, Levey was engaged in writing a biography of Ellen Terry, which met both his great interest in the history of the theatre and his fascination with a magnetic personality who had long intrigued him.

Keywords: Michael Vincent Levey; British Academy; National Gallery; Brigid Brophy; masterpieces

Chapter.  9696 words. 

Subjects: Theory, Methods, and Historiography

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