Born: August 17, 1928; Died: October 24, 2012.
Terry Brodie-Smith, who has died aged 84, was a fanatical art collector whose patronage of young emerging Scottish artists helped to establish many careers. His collection, which became a major preoccuption when he moved to Scotland in the 1980s, featured the likes of SJ Peploe, Barbara Hepworth, Alan Davie, John Bellany and many more.
Guy Peploe, managing director of The Scottish Gallery, who gave the eulogy at Mr Brodie-Smith's funeral, recalls a colourful, kenspeckle character who would appear at private views festooned with objects, jewellery and placards; a walking work of art. As well as objets d'art, Mr Brodie-Smith collected art from some of Scotland's biggest names but his patronage also extended to up-and-coming artists. "I tend to buy from artists I'm friendly with," he once said. "But every time you buy a picture you offend 800 other artists. 'Where's the picture by me?' they all ask."
Terence Garraway Brodie-Smith, known as Terry, was born in Newport, South Wales, in 1928. He was an only child until the age of 11, when his sister, Margaret, was born at the outbreak of the Second World War. In 1941, the street on which the family lived was bombed and 13-year-old Terry rushed into the family home to rescue his sister.
The incident made an indelible imprint on his psyche. More than 70 years later, friends say his recall of this event was crystal clear. Christina Jansen, a director of the Scottish Gallery and a close friend in his later years, says he remembered in great detail the events surrounding that period. Until his street was bombed, the war was abstract but suddenly his father was pulling dead neighbours from their shattered houses.
A clever boy, Mr Brodie-Smith studied dentistry at Bristol University, but decided it was not the path for him. Or as he put it, he was chucked out. He served his national service in north Africa before coming home to run his father's sock factory.
The origin of his knowledge of and passion for art went back to these years in the early 1950s he spent keeping production in the factory going to support his mother and younger sister. At that time, he found an outlet for his creativity in poring over art books and catalogues from auction houses.
He managed eventually to give up the factory and, according to Guy Peploe, perhaps his first grand gesture of freedom, allied to a brief romantic confusion, was to buy a lighthouse on the Gower peninsula.
Mr Brodie-Smith never married but he was briefly engaged at this point. Before too long, practical considerations led him to move to Bath where he set up business as a dealer in antique silver.
His Scottish connection came about when The Scottish Gallery started to attend the annual Bath Art Fair. According to Mr Peploe, a party at Terry's flat was always a highlight of the social events.
He moved to Edinburgh in the mid-1980s and the collecting of British, and in particular, contemporary Scottish art, became a major preoccupation. By 1991 he had amassed a collection of 500 paintings, all packed into his first-floor flat on Great King Street, Edinburgh.
Mr Peploe recalls a consummate if eccentric salesman, making great play of unwrapping jewels from layers of newspaper.
"I first met Terry when I came to work at The Scottish Gallery in December 1983," he explains. "At that time he was making regular trips to Edinburgh to buy silver and jewellery, meeting dealers who would save things for him. He would then sell on to a few dealers in Bath. If dealing was the source of Terry's income, art accounted for most of his expenditure."
In the early 1990s, due to poor health, Mr Brodie-Smith downsized and moved into the Old Assay office in Edinburgh's Old Town. It was at this stage he decided to part with his painting collection.
During his last years, when his eyesight was failing, his small precious objects gave him his greatest joy.
His collection of jewellery, which is still exhibiting at The Scottish Gallery, pays a tribute to one man's vision, reflecting the rich diversity of Scotland's jewellery heritage and celebrates the discerning eye of a character who will be sorely missed.
He is survived by his sister Margaret and two nephews, Mark and Matthew.
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