Following his artistic education at Camberwell College of Arts, Sargy Mann exhibited his first painting in a public exhibition on Bond Street in 1963. In 1973, he held his first solo exhibition at Salisbury Festival of Arts thanks to the help of his friend Elizabeth Jane Howard. He had moved in with Jane and her husband Kingley Amis in 1968, first at 108 Maida Vale and then to Lemmons in Hadley, and lived with the family until his marriage to Frances Carey in 1976. Many of the paintings of this period depict the house and grounds at Lemmons.

Throughout the 1960's and early 1970's, Sargy Mann gradually developed his technique and style as a portrait and landscape painter. Mann was influenced in his early years by the work of Monet, Matisse and Bonnard (who's exhibition at the RA he visited 24 times in 1966!), as well as by his teachers and friends at Camberwell College of Arts: Dick Lee, Frank Auerbach and Ewan Uglow.

While he used the lessons of these artists to understand space and light in painting, his scientific mind helped him constantly experiment with vision, perspective and light. This effort to truly comprehend the nature of sight and how an artist could translate it onto paper was to remain an essential aspect of his work throughout his career.

As early as the 1970's, Sargy counted amongst his collectors some of the greatest literary names of his time: Dame Iris Murdoch, Sir John Betjeman and Cecil Beaton, but also Poet Laureate Cecil Day-Lewis and his son Daniel Day-Lewis, who lived alongside Mann in the Amis’s house Lemmons for some time.