The White Umbrella

The White Umbrella

Brian Sewell




Hardback PLC


$6.30 $5.69

In Stock


Click here to read an excerpt from the book.

$6.30 $5.69

Share On

(Hardback PLC | ISBN 9789386582119 | 184 pages | May 2017)


 ‘Mr B, a wiry little man of fifty with white hair, was sitting in the back of a big white Land Rover when he saw the donkey. It was early evening and the dense rush-hour traffic in Peshawar was moving at a snail’s pace—which was just as well, for Mr B suddenly opened the door, leaped down onto the road and, without a word, sprinted away between the carts and lorries, the buses and the motorcycles…’

Brian Sewell strays from the art world to tell the enchanting story of a man and his pet donkey, Pavlova, as they make their way together from Peshawar to London in the company of monks, book collectors, rugmakers and smugglers. Beautifully illustrated by the celebrated cartoonist Sally Ann Lasson, The White Umbrella is an allegorical tale about taking personal responsibility for our environment and the importance of both compassion and empathy. It is the perfect book for children and adults alike—a classic in the making to keep and to cherish.


Click here to read an excerpt from the book.


‘A beautifully written book, which should become a classic.’
—Mail on Sunday

‘Not since Anna Sewell’s anthropomorphic novel of 1877, Black Beauty, a passionate plea for the good treatment of working animals narrated from the standpoint of a horse, has there been a novel on the side of animals written with such conviction. […] A world of interest and opportunities for exploration is unfolded in a friendly, unpatronising, chatty narrative that will empower as well as delight.’
Books for Keeps

‘Brian Sewell has published his first children’s book at the age of 83, written while recuperating from an operation. While nobody would wish illness on the art critic—not even those painters who have felt the sharp end of his nib—that bedrest has produced a beautifully written book which should become a classic.’
Mail on Sunday

‘A heartwarming tale for children, The White Umbrella is at first glance a simple fable in which determined good intentions will always win the day … Sewell may be aiming his book at “today’s incurious children”, hoping it may get them to “think a little bit”. But I say don’t worry about them; buy it for yourself…’
Evening Standard

‘In the case of this novella about a sensitive man called Mr B who rescues a donkey in Peshawar, names her Pavlova after the ballerina, and brings her overland all the way back home to Wimbledon to meet his dogs named after women painters of the twentieth century, this feeling that the target reader is the childhood author himself is overwhelming. You learn more about the young, sweet, aesthetically precocious Brian Sewell while reading it than you do even about Persian carpets and the dusty towns on the old Silk Route.’

‘This, we can only hope, is not Sewell’s last testament, but even if it is, it bears witness to a luminous, and, yes, peculiarly British, talent.’

‘After three colourful hours in his company, it’s clear that a larger light will go out when eventually Sewell leaves us—he’s just too big a character not to miss.’
—The Lady

You may also like

About the author

Brian Sewell

‘Britain’s most famous and controversial art critic’ (The Guardian), Brian Sewell is also the best-selling author of two volumes of autobiography: Outsider and Outsider II. An Orwell Prize-winning journalist and renowned animal lover, his beloved dogs star in his memoir, Sleeping with Dogs.

View profile