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John White (art historian)

John White (art historian)

English art historian and head of the Department of History of Art at the University College London
John White (art historian)
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro English art historian and head of the Department of History of Art at the University College London
Is Historian Art historian
From United Kingdom
Type Arts Academia Social science
Gender male
The details


John Edward Clement Twarowski White, CBE, FSA (born 1924) is an English former art historian and was formerly the head of the Department of History of Art at the University College London (UCL). In 1992 he was made an Honorary Fellow of UCL. He is also the author of a number of books on Medieval and Renaissance art, as well as on the artist Duccio of Siena.


White went straight from Ampleforth School to the Royal Air Force, where he became a Spitfire flying instructor based in Canada. After the war he returned to the United Kingdom and became a student of Anthony Blunt at the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London. White has a number of mentions in Blunt's biography.

White then went to Cambridge University, He then took a succession of academic positions; first, at the Art History department at Johns Hopkins University, then Alexander White Visiting Professor at the University of Chicago (1958); then Pilkington Professor of history of art at University of Manchester and director of Whitworth Art Gallery 1959-66, then Ferens Visiting professor of fine art the University of Hull 19961-62; then Chairman of the Art Advisory Panel NW Museum and Art Gallery Services 1966-66; then professor of history of art and chairman Department of History of Art Johns Hopkins University Baltimore 1977-71;UCL: and finally Durning-Lawrence Professor of history of art at UCL 1971-90,

White is also a poet; his published work includes a book of English poems translated into Japanese and published in Japan called The Breath in the Flute. Although not a Buddhist, he has had a long association with a Buddhist temple, Shogyoji, a Shin Buddhist (Pure Land) Temple in southern Japan, as well as a branch of the temple, Three Wheels, in London.

In his later years, White is a glider pilot, having taken up gliding 50 years after he last piloted a Spitfire. He flies at Dunstable and holds the diamond certificate for glider pilots, having completed 500 km and 25.000 in altitude (achieved after his 80th birthday). He lives in London.

Selected works

  • The Birth and Rebirth of Pictorial Space, London : Faber and Faber, 1957.
    • book reviewed by Alfred Neumeyer in The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Vol. 17, No. 1 (Sep., 1958), pp. 130–131, Blackwell Publishing on behalf of The American Society for Aesthetics
  • Art and Architecture in Italy, 1250 to 1400, London/Baltimore : Penguin Books, 1966, 2nd edn 1987 (now Yale History of Art series).

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