From hermit to highly acclaimed art historian: remembering Sister Wendy Beckett (1930-2018)

A meeting – almost 25 years ago – with the then 64-year-old nun, celebrated BBC art critic and historian took Ros Drinkwater on a trip she hadn’t anticipated

13th January, 2019
Sister Wendy Beckett giving a talk to schoolchildren about Renaissance paintings at the National Gallery in London Pic: Geoff Wilkinson/REX/Shutterstock

While I was paying for breakfast, Sister Wendy studied the Racing Post. “I’ve a talent for knowing which one wants to win,” she said. My assignment was an interview with the nun turned art critic who was about to embark on a television series based on her latest and sixth book, The Story of Painting.

The day had got off to a bad start. I’d taken her to the trendy Brompton...

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