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Slade Professors

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The Slade Professorship of Fine Art at Cambridge was founded in 1869 as the result of a bequest from the art collector Felix Slade (1788-1868). At the same time, similar chairs were founded in the Universities of Oxford and London. Originally Slade Professors were elected, and sometimes re-elected, for three-year terms. In 1961 the practice changed and since then visiting Slade Professors have been elected on an annual basis. Holders of the Chair usually deliver eight public lectures and four classes for students in the department during the Lent Term of their year in office. The Slade Professorship of Fine Art has been held by many of the most distinguished historians of art and architecture from around the world.

Scenes and Traces of the English Civil War

Professor Stephen Bann

Stephen Bann entered King’s College, Cambridge, as a Major Scholar in 1960, and gained a double first in History in 1962/63. He proceeded to undertake a PhD at Cambridge on the French historian Prosper de Barante, under the supervision of Herbert Butterfield, and on its completion in 1967 joined the staff of the recently founded University of Kent at Canterbury. During his thirty-three years at Kent, he developed a broadly interdisciplinary mode of teaching which was directly reflected in his pursuit of a number of different strands of research. His series of essays exploring the wider significance of historiography, informed by a direct contact with seminal figures like Roland Barthes and Hayden White, eventually resulted in the influential composite study, The Clothing of Clio (CUP 1984), where for the first time visual and fictional renderings of the past were analysed in the company of historical museums and historical narratives. Over the same period, his interest in the Modern Movement in the Arts, and its revival in the contemporary period, had initially borne fruit in publications such as Experimental Painting (1970) and his pioneering anthology of modernist texts, The Tradition of Constructivism (1974). A subsequent period of extensive critical writing on major international artists in Britain, America and Europe culminated in The True Vine (CUP 1989), where traditional schemata such as the Narcissus myth were shown to be still operative in contemporary works. In the 1990s, he turned to the study of two figures who had exemplified important junctures in European cultural history, publishing monographs on the sixteenth-century collector of ‘curiosities’, John Bargrave (Under the Sign, 1994) and the master of nineteenth-century ‘historical genre’, Paul Delaroche (History Painted, 1997). With his move in 2000 to take up the first Chair in History of Art at Bristol, he broadened his research into French nineteenth-century art with two works which encompassed the hitherto neglected field of reproductive printmaking (Parallel Lines, 2001, and Distinguished Images, 2013). This activity also led to the initiation of major international conferences (such as ‘Art and the Early Photographic Album’, at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, 2007), and the role of guest curator at museums such as the National Gallery, London (Painting History, 2010) and the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lyon (L’invention du passé, 2014). His most recent curating venture was the exhibition of his own collection of the work of the Scottish poet and artist, Ian Hamilton Finlay, at the Kettle’s Yard gallery in Cambridge (2014/15), and he has also published his correspondence with Finlay, covering the period 1964 to 1972, in Midway (2014) and Stonypath Days (2016).

Stephen Bann was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1998. From 2000 to 2004, he served as President of CIHA, the international body representing historians of art. He was awarded the CBE for services to History of Art in 2004. A collection of essays on his work, including a full bibliography up to that date, is contained in About Stephen Bann (ed. D.Cherry, 2006).                                

 Scenes and Traces of the English Civil War lecture dates:

10 October: Speaking Stones: Inscriptions of Identity from Civil War Monuments

17 October: A Kentish Family in Wartime: The Bargraves of Bifrons

24 October: Kings on Horseback: Charles I's Statue at Charing Cross and its Afterlife

31 October: Whig Views of the Past: Horace Walpole and Co.

7 November: Illustrating History: Visual Narratives from the Restoration to Hume's History of England

14 November: Boots and All: Cromwell evoked by James Ward and Paul Delaroche

21 November: French Genre for English Patrons: Paul Delaroche's Strafford and Charles I Mocked

28 November: A Sense of an Ending: from Pre-Raphaelites to Problem Pictures


All Lectures take place on Tuesdays from 5-6pm in Mill Lane Lecture Room 3

For more details please see the 'News' and 'Events' sections.

List of Slade Professors in the Department from 1869.



Slade Lectures 2017 poster

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