Professor Paul Binski MA, PhD, FBA, FSA
Professor of the History of Medieval Art
(on study leave 2011-14 with a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship)
Fellow of Gonville and Caius College
Paul Binski is Professor of the History of Medieval Art at Cambridge University. He 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 to Cambridge in 1995, where he has subsequently been Reader in the History of Art, and now Professor.
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.
He has recently published, with Patrick Zutshi, the Catalogue of the Western Illuminated Manuscripts in the University Library, Cambridge (2011).
Presently a recipient of a British Academy Major Research Fellowship, 2011-14, he is compiling a study of medieval aesthetics, art and invention in England in the 13th-15th centuries. Currently he is on leave from teaching and administrative duties, though he continues to supervise seven PhD students.
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.
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 Slade Professor, Oxford University, 2006-7. He has made numerous BBC radio appearances including Radio 4In Our Time with Melvyn Bragg. He was writer and presenter of the 30-programme Channel 5 Series Divine Designs (on DVD), 2002-4 and recently was Consultant for Programme 2 of BBC4/1 TV series presented by David Dimbleby The Seven Ages of Britain (Feb 2010): audience 4.61 million (source, BBC).
Among other professional commitments, Paul Binski is a Fellow of Caius College and was until recently a Syndic of the Fitzwilliam Museum. He was Associate Editor of the periodicalArt 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.