Letters: Michael Jacobs had a genius for conveying the thrill of travel

Bruce Boucher writes: The death of Michael Jacobs is a great blow to those of us who knew him while he was studying history of art at the Courtauld Institute in London, and later as a free spirit and bon vivant. Most people are afraid of failure and hold back from grand gestures, but Michael wasn’t like that. He tried his hand at a variety of artistic endeavours, and early on decided to make his living by writing. His grandiloquent defence of Anthony Blunt in a letter to the Times in 1979 did provoke the wrath of Bernard Levin and others, but Michael was loyal to his mentor, and never temperamentally suited to following an academic career. His was a cosmopolitan temperament, and travel writing suited him down to the ground.

It was remarkable that he managed to support himself through writing books, especially travel books, and he had a genius for conveying the thrill of discovering a new part of the globe. He will be sorely missed.

Peter Eaton writes: Michael Jacobs did much admired and appreciated work as a leader of cultural and gastronomic tours of Spain, Morocco and South America, particularly for Ace, the Association for Cultural Exchange. This educational charity based near Cambridge since its foundation by Philip Barnes in 1958 runs cultural tours all over the world, and Michael was one of its most inspiring and entertaining tour directors. My wife and I well remember going on a tour of Moorish Spain in 2002 led by Michael. As well as the celebrated sites and monuments, we had a mystery trip to Frailes, where he had his house. We had a convivial lunch in a crowded local bar situated in what appeared to be a cave – and were all introduced to the local residents, who obviously knew Michael well.

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