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Sister Wendy Beckett (1930 - 2018), nun became a BBC TV star

(AP Photo/Victoria Arocho)

Sister Wendy’s art history documentaries aired on PBS in America

Sister Wendy Beckett (1930 – 2018) was the unlikely star of art history documentary programs on the BBC. She died at the Carmelite Monastery in Quidenham at the age of 88.

Sister Wendy began studying art history in the 1980s, mostly through books and going to galleries. She wrote a book on art history in 1988 to help her convent earn money.

In 1991, the BBC had her host a documentary on the National Gallery in London. Sister Wendy stood in front of paintings without a script and talked about them.

The program was successful and she hosted more documentaries for the BBC including “Sister Wendy's Grand Tour” and “Sister Wendy's Story of Painting.”

She became popular with US audiences when she hosted “Sister Wendy’s American Collection,” where she went to American museums to discuss art masterpieces. Her last television documentary was 2002’s “Sister Wendy at the Norton Simon Museum,” which is in Pasadena, California.   

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Died: Wednesday, December 26, 2018 (Who else died on December 26?)

Details of death: Died at the age of 88.


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Notable Quote: “Through my parents’ example there was never any doubt in my mind that God loved us and that it mattered how we behaved.” – from her book, “Encounters with God: in Quest of the Ancient Icons of Mary.”

What people said about her: “It is very sad news. Many people see her as a religious person and she was far more than that. It’s a huge loss for the art world. She was a brilliant art critic.” – Sister Wendy’s close friend Xinran Xue

Full obituary: New York Times

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