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Department of History of Art


Dr Noel (Will) was a distinguished alumnus of the Department, and was John T. Maltsberger III '55 Associate University Librarian for Special Collections at Princeton University at the time of his death.

A graduate of Downing College, Will went on to PhD study with Professor George Henderson, graduating in 1992. A medievalist, his research and publication focussed on Anglo-Saxon and Romanesque Psalter illustration.  Most of his career was spent as a librarian in the United States, where he served as Curator of Manuscripts and Rare Books at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore and Director of the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies.

Though a scholar of note, Will was in the forefront of digital humanities. He is most closely associated with the Archimedes Palimpsest Project, published as The Archimedes Codex in 2007 with the classicist Reviel Netz, which took the latest technology to decipher a lost work of Archimedes hidden beneath a later medieval text rediscovered in 1998.

Will was an energetic and charming force for manuscript studies with a strong entrepreneurial spirit, and his death has been greeted with dismay by the medievalist community. He was one of the first undergraduate students of the author of this brief memoir, a valued friend and a continuator of Cambridge’s tradition of medieval manuscript study.

- Professor Paul Binski