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Dr James Fox MA (Cantab), MPhil, PhD

Dr James Fox, MA (Cantab), MPhil, PhD

Fellow, Gonville & Caius College

Director of Studies at Emmanuel College


James Fox graduated with starred first-class honours in History of Art from Emmanuel College, Cambridge. He subsequently completed an MPhil in British modernism before spending a year on a Herchel Smith Scholarship to Harvard. He returned to Cambridge in 2006 to pursue doctoral research in art during the First World War. He spent Michaelmas 2010 at Yale University, as a visiting scholar at the British Art Center. In January 2011 he joined Gonville & Caius College as a Research Fellow.

James is the author of 'British Art and the First World War, 1914-1924' (Cambridge University Press, 2015). He is currently editing a volume of essays on C20th Canadian sculpture. In 2012 he signed a two-book deal with Allen Lane (Penguin), for whom he will write a Cultural History of Colour, and a History of Modern British Art. Recent publications include: '"Traitor Painters": Artists and espionage in the First World War' (British Art Journal 2009); '"Fiddling While Rome is Burning": perceptions of artists in wartime' (Visual Culture in Britain 2010); and 'Conflict & Consolation: British art and the First World War' (Art History 2013).

James appears frequently in the media. He writes opinion pieces for The Times; has appeared on numerous radio and television programmes (including Newsnight, The Review Show, and Something Understood), and writes and presents art documentaries for the BBC. In 2011 his series 'British Masters' was nominated for a BAFTA; and in 2013 he was nominated as best presenter by the Royal Television Society for 'A History of Art in Three Colours'. 

Research Interests

C20th British Art
Art and the First World War
The cultural history of Colour

Key Publications


British art and the First World War, 1914-24 (Cambridge University Press, 2015).

The Meaning of Colour (Allen Lane, forthcoming)

British art in the Twentieth Century (Allen Lane, forthcoming)


Edited Volumes

The Art of Jeffrey Rubinoff (Douglas McIntyre, 2016).

Essays and Journal articles (selected)

'The Embattled Tradition' (chapter), in The Royal Academy: history and collections, ed. R. Simon (Yale University Press, forthcoming, 2016).

'Tabula Rasa: reflections on white' (chapter), in Sotto Voce (Dominique Levy Gallery, 2015), pp. 11-28.

'Poppy Politics: Remembrance of Things Present' (chapter), in Cultural Heritage Ethics: between Theory and Practice, ed. C. Sandis (Open Book Publishers, 2014).

'Conflict and Consolation: British art and the First World War, 1914-1919’, Art History, vol. 36 (September 2013).

‘‘Fiddling while Rome is Burning’: hostility to art during the First World War, 1914-1918’, Visual Culture in Britain, vol. 10, spring 2010.

''’Traitor Painters’: artists and espionage in the First World War 1914-1918’, British Art Journal,  vol. 10 (Spring 2009).