skip to primary navigationskip to content

Professor Paul Binski MA, PhD, FBA, FSA

Professor Paul Binski, MA, PhD, FBA, FSA

Professor of the History of Medieval Art (on sabbatical leave 2016-17 and Michaelmas term 2017-18)

Fellow of Gonville and Caius College

Office Phone: 01223 332975


Paul Binski is Professor of the History of Medieval Art. 

He has recently completed a three-year Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship devoted to a project to be published as Gothic Wonder: Art, Artifice and the Decorated Style 1290-1350, with Yale University Press, 2014. He has now returned as Head of the Department of History Art, 2014-2016.

Paul Binski read History and History of Art at Caius College, Cambridge, and received a Cambridge PhD in 1984.  He was a Research Fellow at Caius until 1987, when he left the UK with a Getty Postdoctoral award which he held at Princeton, before moving to Yale as an Assistant Professor.  In 1991 he returned to the UK to work at Manchester as a lecturer, before moving back to Cambridge in 1995.  He was Slade Professor, Oxford University, 2006-7.

He specializes in the art and architecture of Western Europe in the Gothic period in England especially. His earliest work was on the palace and abbey at Westminster, his first book The Painted Chamber at Westminster appearing in 1986. His research interests have subsequently covered a wide variety of fields and media, and he has published on French, Italian and Scandinavian as well as English art. An important vehicle for education has been the exhibition. He collaborated on Age of Chivalry (1987), the catalogue of the memorable exhibition at the Royal Academy which he co-edited with Jonathan Alexander. Most recently he was one of the organizers of the Cambridge Illuminations exhibition at the Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge (2005).  His book Westminster Abbey and the Plantagenets (1995), was a winner of the Longman’s-History Today Prize and won the Yale University Press Governor’s Award for the best book published by Yale by an author under 40.  Becket’s Crown, Art and Imagination in Gothic England 1170-1300 (2004) was winner of the 2006 Historians of British Art Prize in the single-author book category on a topic pre-1800 published in 2004, and the Ace-Mercers 2005 International Book Prize. With Patrick Zutshi, he published Western Illuminated Manuscripts: a Catalogue of the collection Cambridge University Library (2011).

Paul Binski was British Academy Aspects of Art Lecturer, 2001. He gave the Paul Mellon Lectures, 2002-3, at the National Gallery, London and Yale University. He was a visiting member of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, in 1987-88 and Ailsa Mellon Bruce Visiting Senior Fellow at the National Gallery of Art, at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, Washington, 1992 (Fall). He held a British Academy/Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship in 2003-4.

He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, a Fellow of the British Academy and a Corresponding Fellow of the Medieval Academy of America. He is a Fellow of Caius College, Cambridge.

He was Associate Editor of the periodical Art History 1992-97 and has served as a Foreign Advisor, International Center of Medieval Art, The Cloisters, New York. He serves on the Westminster Abbey Fabric Commission.  An enthusiastic musician, organist and harpsichordist, he is chairman of a charity devoted to propagating performance knowledge of organ music, the Cambridge Academy of Organ Studies.

As well as teaching for the BA Professor Binski welcomes applications from students wishing to study Western medieval art and architecture for the MPhil and PhD in the period before 1400.

List of publications