Elected F.R.S. 1960
John Kendrew was born in Oxford, where he spent his childhood years. His father, Wilfred Kendrew, was Dean of the St Catherine's Society and was a geographer and reader in climatology at Oxford University. His mother, Evelyn Sandberg, came from a Hereford parsonage. John's parents separated when he was four years old, his mother moving to Italy and finally to Florence, where she became an art historian working with Bernard Berenson in the Uffizi. She was an authority on Italian primitives and published under the nom de guerre Evelyn Sandberg Vavalà. John remained with his father in Oxford and attended the Dragon School. He re–established contact with his mother a few times during his early years and her influence on him remained strong throughout his life. Although he had the attention and affection of his paternal grandmother and two doting maiden aunts, his childhood was rather lonely. One of his aunts noticed that the child was much in need of spectacles. John's pebble glasses were to shield him from enquiring eyes until late in life when a cataract operation rendered them less necessary. His aunts introduced him to photography, which remained a lifelong interest.