PHILLIPS, Ewan Maurice Godfrey

1914 - 1994

As Ewan Maurice Godfrey van Zwanenberg-Phillips, he was born at Kensington, London on 15 March 1914, son of Godfrey van Zwanenberg Phillips (1886-1955), a solicitor, who opened an art gallery in Duke Street, St James's, London, and his wife Rose Dorothy née Jacobs (1886-1986), a model for both Augustus John and Jacob Epstein, who married at Hampstead, London in 1912. After leaving Epsom College in 1931 Ewan spent a year at Goldsmiths' College of Art in Lewisham, where his contemporaries included Merlyn Evans (1910-1973) and his first wife Betsy Blake [Muriel Phillips q.v.]. He then became one of the first students at the newly opened Courtauld Institute of Art, under the aegis of Anthony Blunt (1907-1983). During the Second World War he served in the Intelligence Corps, mostly in Mombasa and Mauritius and, after hostilities, applied to Anthony Blunt for a post in 'Monuments, Fine Art and Archives', the unit dealing with the retrieval of lost and looted works of art. After a short time, with the rank of captain, he was posted to take over as MFA & A as officer-in-charge of Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein, where for three years he worked with German museum officials. In 1948 he obtained the position as director of the Museum of Modern Art in London, but in 1953 resigned and turned his attention to art dealing, working for some time on his own account before joining the Kaplan Gallery and in 1965, opened his own gallery in Maddox Street, London. He married twice, in 1936 at Kensington, Murial Betsy Blake [q.v.] and secondly at St Pancras, London in 1972, Constance Beatrice Tudor-Hart née Swan (1914-1989). Art historian and consultant, dealer in 19-20th century paintings and sculpture but not an artist but was a member of the Beccles Society of Artist 1977-1990, being described as a 'member & exhibitor'. He died at Marsh Farm, Thorington, Saxmundham, Suffolk on 8 May 1994.