Wednesday 29 February 2012

Professor Brian Shefton RIP

Brian Shefton obituary

Andrew Parkin
Wednesday 22 February 2012

My friend and colleague Brian Shefton, who has died aged 92, was a distinguished scholar of Greek and Etruscan archaeology. One of his most significant achievements was a collection of Greek and Etruscan artefacts which he established in 1956 when he was given a grant of £25 to purchase three Greek pots. The collection expanded to include nearly 1,000 objects, many of which can now be seen at the Great North Museum: Hancock, in Newcastle upon Tyne. Brian also built up an important collection of books on Greek and Etruscan archaeology, which make up the Shefton collection in the library at Newcastle University.

Brian was born in Cologne, the son of Isidor Scheftelowitz, professor of Sanskrit at Cologne University, and his wife, Frieda. In 1933 the family moved to Britain to escape Nazi oppression. Brian thrived in Britain and, after military service during which he changed his name to Shefton, he graduated from Oriel College, Oxford, in 1947. He then spent three years travelling in Greece before taking up a lectureship at Exeter University.

In 1955 he arrived at King's College in Durham (now Newcastle University) as a lecturer in Greek archaeology and ancient history. He remained there for the rest of his career, becoming professor of Greek art and archaeology in 1979. To Brian, the archaeology collection and library holdings at Newcastle were his greatest achievements.

His scholarship was truly international. He was an enthusiastic traveller with an extensive network of colleagues and friends. He attended international conferences frequently, and also received prestigious fellowships and honours, including an honorary doctorate from Cologne University and the British Academy's Kenyon medal.

His enthusiasm for his discipline stayed with him until the end. He spoke at a conference in Basle, Switzerland, on Etruscan archaeology in October 2011 and continued to work on research projects. He was an incredibly generous scholar who always had time for others. His irrepressible energy and curiosity were an inspiration to all those who knew him.

Brian is survived by his wife, Jutta, whom he married in 1960, and his daughter, Penny.

See David Whetstone's obit from The Journal at

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