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Frances Spalding

Professor of Art History, Newcastle University

Frances Spalding is an art historian, critic and biographer. She began publishing articles and reviews while studying for her PhD and quickly gained a reputation as a specialist in modern and contemporary British art. Thames & Hudson invited her to write 'British Art since 1900', the first full account of this period and a book which has been widely used in schools, college and universities. She went on to pubish a centenary history of one of Britain's leading art institutions, shortly before it split into Tate Britain and Tate Modern.

She continues to write for newspapers, journals and magazines, on books, art and exhibitions, and is the author of some 15 monograohs, including biographies of Vanessa Bell, John Minton, Duncan Grant and Gwen Raverat ( Charles Darwin's grand-daughter). Her lively introduction to the Bloomsbury Group has just been redesigned and reissued by London's National Portrait Gallery, wth a row of deckchairs on its cover. Her most recent books are 'John Piper, Myfanwy Piper: Lives in Art' and 'Prunella Clough: regions unmapped'. She has written about artists, such as Bridget Riley who need no introduction, but has also brought back relatively obscure artists into the canon. Recognising how much ill-health, relationships, houses, money or the lack of it, impact directly on creative work of any kind, she champions biography as an art historical method.

She is currently working on a book titled 'The Real and The Romanti: English Art between the Wars' and is curating an exhibition on Virginia Woolf.


  • –present
    Professor of Art History, Newcastle University


  • 1998
    The Tate: A History, Tate Publications