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Obituary: Primrose Hill publisher Tom Rosenthal had ‘phenomenal’ impact on London arts

Tom Rosenthal. Picture: Nigel Sutton. Tom Rosenthal. Picture: Nigel Sutton.

Thursday, January 16, 2014
9:00 AM

Influential publisher Tom Rosenthal has been remembered for his “phenomenal” impact on the London arts scene.

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The former publishing house executive, a long-time resident of Gloucester Avenue, Primrose Hill, passed away on January 3, aged 78, following a long battle with cancer.

Mr Rosenthal was at the helm of publishing house Secker and Warburg in its pomp during the ‘70s and early ‘80s.

During this period, Mr Rosenthal boasted a roster of highly-regarded authors, including Hampstead resident Lord Melvyn Bragg. Labour peer Lord Bragg, 74, worked closely with Mr Rosenthal during this period on a number of novels published by Secker and Warburg.

He described him as “a serious intellectual, warm-hearted” and “full of talents” and praised him as an “extremely good art critic in his own right”.

He added: “He was a very generous publisher – generous with encouragement and support. That group [of publishers] that he is part of had a phenomenal effect on London publishing and arts in general.”

Mr Rosenthal was born in London on July 16, 1935 to parents who had fled Germany when Hitler came to power.

The family lived initially in Manchester and later in Cambridge, where Mr Rosenthal’s ­father became a university don.

Mr Rosenthal went on to study history and English at Cambridge University’s Pembroke College.

Following national service in the Royal Artillery, he joined publisher Thames and Hudson in 1959 and left as managing director 12 years later for Secker and ­Warburg – a company he joined as managing director and chairman.

Mr Rosenthal later also took the helm of publishers Heinemann and Andre Deutsch. In later life, he focussed on his work as an author and most recently penned a book on artist L.S. Lowry, published in 2010.

He is survived by his wife Ann, two sons and two grandsons.

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