Art historian Sister Wendy Beckett has died. She was 88

LONDON — Sister Wendy Beckett, an art historian and critic who rose to prominence on TV late in life, has died. She was 88.

The Carmelite Monastery of Quidenham said Beckett died at the monastery Wednesday afternoon.

She was a sister of the Catholic Church who became prominent in the 1990s presenting BBC shows about art history.

Her work included a series of well received documentaries including "Sister Wendy's Odyssey" and "Sister Wendy's Grand Tour."

The BBC said it commissioned Beckett in 1991 to host a TV documentary on the National Gallery in London. She stood in front of the paintings dressed in a black nun's habit and discussed the paintings without a script or teleprompter.

"Sister Wendy had a unique presentation style, a deep knowledge of and passion for the arts," BBC director of arts Jonty Claypole said. "She was a hugely popular BBC presenter and will be fondly remembered by us all."

Close friend Xinran Xue said Beckett's death was "a huge loss for the art world. She was a brilliant art critic."

Beckett was born in South Africa and raised in Scotland. She joined a convent at 16 and started studying fine art in the 1980s.

She taught in Cape Town, South Africa, and Liverpool in northern England.

Must Read

George Michael mourned by boyfriend, ex-boyfriend...

Dec 27, 2016

George Michael's former partner and his current boyfriend have both spoken of their sadness at his...

Harry 'constantly in trouble,' Princess Diana...

Jan 5, 2017

Letters sent by Britain's late Princess Diana _ including one in which she described a young Prince...

Longtime British Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman...

Jan 25, 2017

The top editor at British Vogue plans to step down after a quarter century at the helm of the...

The royal scoop: Documents from King George III...

Jan 28, 2017

An enormous cache of historical documents from Britain's royal archives detailing the reign of King...

Vibrant Tate show traces David Hockney's artistic...

Feb 6, 2017

It's not often an artist finds himself occupying 12 rooms of London's leading museum of British art...

Sign up now!