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Brian MacDermot Master 1984-1986

Brian inside his Gallery

Brian MacDermot was born on 2nd December 1930 in Paris and educated at Downside and New College Oxford. He joined the Irish Guards and served from 1952-55 in Germany and Egypt as an Officer in that Regiment.

After leaving the Army he worked as a Banker at the Stock Exchange, and worked in the firm of Cazenove & Co, and then for Panmure Gordon. He became a Partner in Panmure Gordon from 1964-76.

In 1975 he founded the Mathaf Gallery, to deal with paintings of the Arab world and this was around the time of the 'World of Islam Festival' in London. The Gallery started by exhibiting contemporary works by Arab artists. Whilst the Mathaf Gallery continues to have a team of contemporary artists whom they like to call 'Contemporary Orientalists' - the main emphasis today is on 19th century paintings of the Arab world. The Mathaf Gallery have been leaders in paintings by the Orientalist academic painters of the 19th century, and have helped many collectors build up fine collections of these works. Brian MacDermot is both Chairman and Managing Director of the Mathaf Gallery where he spends most of his time.

He has been involved in a number of charitable works including thirty years as trustee for St Gregory's Charitable Trust, and past Chairman of that Trust.

He is also a social anthropologist and former Vice President of the Royal Anthropological Institute in London, and Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, and former Council Member.

From 1984-1986 he was Master of the Worshipful Company of Bowyers in the City of London. He was admitted to the Livery in 1962 and called to the Court in 1874. He has contributed to many literary publications on both anthropology and art. Such works include 'Cult of the Sacred Spear' published in 1972, and also the privately published book on the firm of Panmure Gordon.

In his spare time Brian MacDermot has in the past made documentary films for television in both Africa and Arabia. These have included such titles as 'Tribes of Lake Rudolph', 'Abu Dhabi Old & New', 'The Nuer', 'Bushmen of the Kalahari' etc. He travelled to these places and did most of the filming himself whilst living with the primitive tribes. He also filmed for Anglia television contributing footage for Wilfred Thesiger's film on 'The Danakil of Ethiopia'.

A favourite story told of him was that during his time in the Kalahari Desert he was stranded for some days whilst trying to get back to the city of London. At that time he was in the process of a take-over bid on behalf of Rothschilds, who were somewhat amused when they received what was in those days a telegram, sent literally by bush telegraph, which said "Unavoidably delayed in Kalahari Desert. Hope not too inconvenient for take-over bid. Will return soon-est!".

Married to Georgina Maria (Gallwey) in 1985 - managed to get engaged and married during his 2 year period as Master. He has two children Thomas Patrick Born 16th March 1986 and Elaine Francesca Born 19th November 1987.

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