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Department of History of Art



Dr Elizabeth Deans is the Assistant Director of the Centre. Elizabeth is an architectural historian of early modern Europe and specialises in the study of drawings, manuscripts, books, prints, objects, decorative art, and spaces of architectural production in seventeenth-century England. She has over a decade of teaching at the undergraduate and graduate level and has lectured for universities in the US, Europe, China, and Japan.

Elizabeth’s doctoral thesis (funded by the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain) explored the drawing practices of Christopher Wren and his pupils, Nicholas Hawksmoor and William Dickinson. Her current research rethinks the process, purpose, and form of architectural drawing in England's most important site of architectural production: The Royal Office of Works. This will be published in her forthcoming book, Working in Wren's Office: A Material History of Architectural Practice in Britain, c. 1660-1730, which argues that Wren transformed architectural practice by instituting new techniques and intellectually driven practices by the instrument of his Office administration. It is the first comprehensive study of the forms of training that Wren introduced and the first scholarly work to illuminate the world of the architect's office in early modern Britain. 

Prior to her appointment, Elizabeth was the Director of Graduate Studies and Assistant Professor at George Washington University. She was the Program Director of the MA in Decorative Art and Design History in partnership with the Smithsonian. She also taught at George Mason University and Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington, DC and Capital University in Beijing. Elizabeth has held fellowships at the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford, and the Smithsonian, and her research has been funded by the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain, the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, the Society of Architectural Historians (US), the Bibliographical Society, the Georgian Group, the British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, and others.

Assistant Director at the Ax:son Johnson Centre for the Study of Classical Architecture
Research Associate