John Pentland

Gurdjieff International Review

John Pentland


by J. Walter Driscoll

Lord Pentland (Henry John Sinclair) was a pupil of both P.D. and Mme. Ouspensky for many years during the 1930s and 1940s. He spent considerable time in 1949, the last year of Gurdjieff's life, with him; then he led the Gurdjieff Work in North America. He described this period in Transmission: an interview with Lord Pentland in 1983:

When I met Gurdjieff I'd been quite a few years with Mr. Ouspensky and Mme. Ouspensky both attending talks and lectures and also living in Mme. Ouspensky's house, in their houses in England in the west of London and in New Jersey. And it was after Ouspensky died and I went out to India, and on the way back, actually, it became clear to me that even all those years with Ouspensky, I hadn't arrived at anything; I came to nothing. And it was then that through Mme. Ouspensky's introduction, I went to Paris and met Gurdjieff. I was with him in Paris and then I came to New York. And it was a short period, only about nine months, but a couple of months after that he died. And the way he left things, it made it perfectly easy for me to have to really enter into a position of responsibility as such. So it made it essentially easy for me to try to understand more deeply what he'd shown me.

With support from other senior students, Lord Pentland became president of the Gurdjieff Foundation when it was established in New York in 1953 and remained in that position until his death in 1984. He played a major role in bringing English editions of Gurdjieff's and Ouspensky's books to publication. He also collaborated in the founding of Gurdjieff societies in major urban areas across North America. Lord Pentland was president of the Gurdjieff Foundation of California from its inception in 1955.

As executive editor of Far West Editions between 1969 and 1984 he supervised and was a frequent but anonymous contributor to ten issues of  Material for Thought, an occasional magazine of anonymously authored reviews, essays, interviews and poetry that is dedicated to "the inner search for one's self." In this capacity, he acted as editorial advisor to numerous authors and wrote forewords to some of their books published by Far West Editions. As founder of the Far West Institute, he was a pivotal force behind their biennial program of six public lectures in San Francisco between 1974 and 1984. These drew a wide range of gifted speakers, from many vocations and traditions, to penetrating dialogues on their search for meaning in the midst of contemporary materialism. Lord Pentland was a frequent contributor to these discussions.

Copyright © 1997 J. Walter Driscoll
This webpage © 1997 Gurdjieff Electronic Publishing
Featured: Fall 1997 Issue, Vol. I (1)
Revision: April 1, 2000