Art critic Brian Sewell buries the hatchet in the back of arb profession

Crotchety art critic Brian Sewell has done a hatchet job on arborists, branding them as rapists, ravagers and barbarians at the garden gate.

The snowy-haired firebrand used the launch of a new book, The Great Trees of London, to attack tree professionals in a review for London's Evening Standard.

"Everywhere the birds are nesting, but still the tree men come - surgeons they dub themselves, but butchers, despoilers, ravagers and rapists are terms that suit far better these barbarians at the garden gate."

Brian Sewell's rambling rant over one-and-a-half pages bemoans the loss of trees and dismisses tree preservation orders as "often useless safeguards" that are "easily ignored".

Jenny Landreth, who wrote the illustrated paperback featuring over 50 trees with details of nearest bus stops and best viewpoints, fared better than arborists.

"I hope this well written and researched guidebook to the London tree will have widespread influence on all planners and the noble lords of architecture."

The Great Trees of London is published on 3 June by Time Out in association with charity Trees for Cities. It costs £12.99. Visit

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