MANN, Sargy

1937 - 2015

'Sargy' Mann

Martin Oliver Henson Mann, was born at Hythe, Kent on 29 May 1937, son of Stanley Mann, and his wife Mary B. née Kent, who married at Kingston, Surrey in 1924. He was nicknamed 'Sargy' when a pupil at Dartington Hall, Devon and, before beginning his painting career, spent 5 years from 1953 studying Mechanical Engineering at an Oxford Technical College, gaining a Higher National Diploma in Mechanical Engineering whilst working as an apprentice at the Morris radiator factory in Oxford. It was while doing a maths 'A'-level in London that he showed his drawings to a student friend, who persuaded him to apply to an art school, but although turned down by St Martin’s won a place at Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts where he studied 1962-1964, taking a postgraduate course in 1967, his tutors included Frank Auerbach (born 1931), Euan Uglow (1932-2000), Dick Lee (1923-2001) and Anthony Eyton (born 17 May 1923). Sargy taught at Camberwell 1969-1988 and was Co-Curator for ‘Bonnard at le Bosquet’ at the Hayward Gallery, London and Laing Gallery, Newcastle 1994, Lecturer at Verocchio Art Centre, Italy 1996-1997 and Visiting Lecturer at the Prince’s Drawing School 1999-2008. Although deeply influenced by Cezanne and Bonnard his paintings attain a remarkable originality, his later work is all the more astonishing as he was completely blind, being diagnosed with cataracts at 36 and, due to detached retinas, went on to lose his sight completely in 2005, but in his mind's eye his vision did not fade. Sargy exhibited regularly since 1983, including the Royal Academy from 58 Lyndhurst Grove, London SE15 in 1987 'Cleave Farm' and 'Warwick Gardens', in 1988 'Mill near Gracciano', in 1989 'Christiana's Barn', 'Frances reading Pissarro's Letters' and 'The Track to Onci', also showing at the Royal College of Art, London; Cadogan Contemporary, London and the The First Aldeburgh 100 Exhibition and today his paintings, collected by Daniel Day-Lewis among others, are more acclaimed than ever. Before Sargy Mann married, he lived for eight years as the house-guest of his friends, Kingsley Amis and his second wife, Elizabeth Jane Howard, in their Georgian home, Lemmons, in Hertfordshire. He married his former student Frances Carey in 1976. With a wife and four children to support they lived in Peckham, South London before moving in 1990, to a low-beamed riverside house in Bungay, near the Suffolk coast. He died of cancer on 5 April 2015. 'Sargy Mann: probably the best blind painter in Peckham’ an autobiographical work about his life as a painter was published in 2008 and recently his estate have produced an online archive of his work at

Works by This Artist