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Emeritus Professor William Vaughan

(Elected 2010)

Professor Vaughan has been Emeritus Professor of History of Art at Birkbeck since 2003. The main area of his research is Romanticism, particularly British and German art around the start of the nineteeth century. His recent research has considered artistic communities in London in the nineteenth century, British art and national identity, and aspects of romantic landscape.

He has a strong interest in computer applications in the History of Art and was Chair of CHArt (Computers and the History of Art) from its initiation in 1986 until 2003. Professor Vaughan was instrumental in developing joint research projects in this area between Birkbeck and institutions in the museum world, in particular the National Gallery.

Prior to joining Birkbeck in 1986 as Professor of History of Art in the School of History of Art, Film and Visual Media, Professor Vaughan was a Reader at University College London (1972–1986) and an Assistant Keeper at the Tate (1968–1972).

His books include German Romantic Painting; Romanticism and Art; William Blake; and British Painting: The Golden Age: From Hogarth to Turner. He is currently completing a monograph on Samuel Palmer, and a study of the artistic profession in London c.1800–1850.

He has curated several exhibitions, including:

  • Caspar David Friedrich at the Tate in 1972
  • The Romantic Spirit in German Art at the Hayward Gallery in 1996
  • The Artist’s Model in British Art from Etty to Spencer (with Martin Postle) for English Heritage in 1999
  • Samuel Palmer; Vision and Landscape at the British Museum in 2005.

Since 2005 Professor Vaughan has been a trustee of the Art Fund, and since 2009 Senior Research Fellow at Tate Britain.

'I greatly valued my years at Birkbeck, particularly because of the dedication and enthusiasm of both staff and students. It was an inspiring place to work,' commented Professor Vaughan on his Fellowship.