The curator, academic and writer David Mellor (he added 'Alan' to avoid confusion with the politician of the same name) has died aged 75 years at his home in Machynlleth, Wales. He was awarded the Royal Photographic Society's J Dudley Johnston (2005) and Education (2015) awards.
Mellor studied art at Sussex University from 1967 under Quentin Bell. During this time Asa Briggs, then Vice-Chancellor of the University, received the archive of Mass-Observation from Tom Harrisson. Mellor published and curated exhibitions about the substantial collection of pre-war photographs of working-class life contained in the archive. He stayed at Sussex until his retirement in 2018. In the words of Maurice Howard he was one of the country’s leading scholars in the fields of twentieth century painting, film and photography.' Mellor had an extensive list of publications to his name and curated significant exhibitions on Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud, and on Robin Denny, Cecil Beaton and Bill Brandt. He curated major exhibitions at the Barbican and Tate, most memorably Paradise Lost: The New Romantic Imagination in Britain (1987) and The Sixties (1993), at Brighton Museum and Art Gallery.
Mellor was also a director of Brighton's Photoworks and the Brighton Photo Biennial, and Edinburgh's cooperative Photography Workshop from 1996 to 2011.
As Howard notes 'As a teacher, generations of students testify to his unique insights into British culture. David was teaching the inter-relations of media long before the subject became an academic discipline at the University and was sensitive to art and the environment from the beginning of his career'.
With thanks to Paul Hill (seen on the right, in the picture left) who notes: 'So sad to get the news of the the death of photo historian and teacher. David Mellor (left). We worked together quite a few times - up here in Derbyshire at The Photographers Place workshop in the 70s, Salford ‘80, and latterly talking about The Real Britain project at the 2014 Brighton Biennial. Great scholar and lovely guy….'