A FORMER pupil of Malvern College who moved from the world of art dealing in 17th-century Dutch masterpieces into the world of Ramana spiritual teachings has died at the age of 90.

Sri Alan Jacobs was born into a religious Jewish family on September 9 1929 and demonstrated a spiritual bent from an early age, attending Synagogue every week with his father.

At boarding school, he enthusiastically attended Christian services and became a ‘truly spiritual Christian’. He went to school at Malvern College, and after leaving school, did his two years’ National Service in the Army Intelligence Corps.

In 1953, he married his childhood sweetheart, Claire Mendoza, a journalist.

After the painful loss of his father in 1969, he took over the family’s retail outlets, the Times Furnishing homeware stores and the menswear chain Willerby’s.

Subsequently, he and his wife entered the art world and began dealing in masterpieces of the late 17th-century school of Dutch landscape painting, opening a gallery in London’s West End.

Alan wrote a book on the subject, 17th Century Dutch and Flemish Painters: A Collectors’ Guide, published in 1976, which became a best-seller.

He and his wife joined the Gurdjieff Society and in 1967, both came under the influence of J Krishnamurti. But one time when Alan fell ill and was recovering in bed, Claire brought him a yoga journal with a picture of Ramana Maharshi in it.

This was the beginning of a new chapter in his life. He started a small Ramana group which in turn formed the nucleus of the present Ramana Foundation, London.

Unfortunately, Claire died of a brain haemorrhage in 1981 which was a terrific blow to him.

He took solace in Bhagavan and poured his energies into Ramana satsangs.

In August 1990, the group was put on an official footing and the Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK was inaugurated at a meeting in the Bharata Vidya Bhavan, West Kensingtton, presided over by V. Ganesan.

In 1993, Alan became the foundation’s second chairman, following the retirement of the first chairman, Squadron leader Nair Vasudevan.

In 2005, he stepped down as chairman in order to live out his remaining years in Tiruvannamalai. But as fate would have it, he fell sick within the first year and was forced to return to London.

He edited Self-Enquiry and wrote articles for the Mountain Path and other journals.

He authored several books, among them The Element Book of Mystical Verse (1997), Peace of Mind: Words of Wisdom to Comfort and Inspire (2010), The Wisdom of Marcus Aurelius (2003) and Thoreau: Transcendent Nature for a Modern World (2012) as well as a book on Gandhi and another on the Dalai Lama. He also wrote and published poetry.

Alan passed away peacefully on Saturday, July 25.

He is remembered for his quiet humility, accessibility, and willingness to help in any personal situation.

He is survived by his three children, Laura, Keith and Graham and six grandchildren.