Professor Maurice Howard has a History degree from Christ's College, Cambridge (B.A. Hons) and History of Art degrees from the Courtauld Institute, London (M.A., PhD). He came to Sussex after Lectureships at Pennsylvania State University, U.S.A. and the University of St. Andrews, Scotland. He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London and was Honorary Research Fellow at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London from 2002 to 2007. He was Chair of the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain, 1991-94 and became President in 2013. Professor Howard was Visiting Chair at the Centre for Renaissance Studies, University of Tours, France, in 2000. From 2005-10 he served on the Advisory Council of the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art. In 2007 he was elected Director of the Society of Antiquaries of London and served as President of the Society from 2010 to 2014.
Professor Howard is principally an architectural historian of Early Modern Europe whose researches have encompassed the arts of painting and the applied arts. His work has focused mainly on architecture in England in the 16th and 17th centuries, dealing with issues of patronage and the transmission of continental influences into this country. He currently working on aspects of transformation, originating in the examination of monasteries converted to other uses in the post-Reformation period, looking at the architecture of the period in terms of evolving language, regional differences, social and class interaction, and attitudes to the past. This interest in transformation has extended into work in the applied arts of the period.
His teaching responsibilities over the years, beyond English visual culture into French and Italian architecture and Dutch 17th-century painting, have underpinned his belief in the importance of comparative work for understanding the context of England, caught between established and emerging technologies of building, stylistic traits medieval and Renaissance, keen consumerism across the visual arts and religious scruples which sought to prescribe luxury trades. Publications on the broad themes of the period stand alongside in-depth analysis of particular sites, such as Laughton Place and The Vyne, where he has worked alongside archaeologists and curators.
Through the University of Sussex Exchange scheme with the Victoria and Albert Museum Professor Howard has had close involvement with two major projects in recent years. He assisted on the preparation of the Gallery of European Ornament and co-authored a book on the subject. He was later Senior Subject Specialist for the Tudor and Stuart sections of the British Galleries, which opened to great acclaim in 2001. This latter work involved curatorship, writing text to support the museum's publications and educational provision, and organising a major conference on the Tudor and Stuart interior. Work at the Museum has re-inforced his commitment to the study of objects in their physical settings as part of understanding buildings in the fullest sense. He subsequently contributed to the catalogues of the exhibitions at the V&A British Design from 1948 (2012), Tudors, Stuarts and the Russian Tsars (2013) and Europe 1600-1815 (2015). He was recently a co-investigator on the National Portrait Gallery project Making Art in Tudor Britain (2010-13), funded by the Leverhulme and other grant-awarding organisations, and has co-edited one of its major outcomes, a book published by the British Academy under the same name (2015). His recent Directorship (2007-10) and then Presidency (2010-14) of the Society of Antiquaries of London, with responsibility for publications, research and the dissemination of the story of the Society's history and collections, extended his fields of interest in the physical remains of the past.