About Art History News
Welcome to Art History News, the most widely read art history blog. It began in 2011 and is written by Dr. Bendor Grosvenor, an art historian, writer, and broadcaster. The aim is to provide a useful source for art history related news stories, such as exhibitions, research and recently discovered paintings.
AHN welcomes contributions and opinions. We don't have a comments section like most blogs, as all reader feedback is incorporated into the main site, and not ignored in an area where nobody ever goes. So, if you have a news story, or simply want to agree or disagree with what AHN or someone else has said, then please get in touch.
About Bendor Grosvenor
Dr. Bendor Grosvenor is an art historian and dealer specialising in Old Masters and British pictures, especially portraits. He has discovered a number of important paintings by prominent artists. He is also a writer, broadcaster, and a former government adviser on archives and public records. Between 2005 and 2014 he worked in the London art trade, but is now based in Edinburgh with his own company, Iconografie. In 2014 Apollo Magazine included him in their '40 Under 40' feature, and in 2017 the Daily Telegraph named him as one of the 500 Most Influential People in Britain.
Grosvenor has been interested in the history of art since an early age, and found his first ‘sleeper’, or mis-catalogued picture (a portrait by Sir William Fettes Douglas), whilst studying at university. His first major discovery came in 2004, with a portrait by Sir Thomas Lawrence of a member of the Wellesley family, which he bought at Christie's in London as a work attributed to George Henry Harlow. The portrait was later sold at Sotheby's in London.
In the years since, he has made a number of notable art historical discoveries. Some of the best known include:
- The re-identification of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery’s iconic portrait of Bonnie Prince Charlie by La Tour as being the Prince’s younger brother, Prince Henry. See his article for the British Art Journal here.
- The discovery of a portrait of Bonnie Prince Charlie by Allan Ramsay, painted in Edinburgh in 1745 during the Jacobite uprising. This painting is now in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. The story featured in a BBC2 Culture Show Special, The Lost Portrait of Bonnie Prince Charlie.
- The discovery of a lost portrait of Olivia Porter by Sir Anthony Van Dyck in the reserve collection of the Bowes Museum, which featured in a BBC Culture Show programme, 'Your Paintings'.
- The discovery in an auction in Germany of a missing Self-Portrait by Sir Anthony Van Dyck. This painting is now on display at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, and recently featured in an exhibition at the National Gallery in London.
- For his BBC series, 'Britain's Lost Masterpieces', Grosvenor has discovered a number of previously misattributed works in UK public collections, including: a study by Jacob Jordaens for his painting Atalanta & Meleager in Swansea Museum; a possible Madonna by Raphael and a landscape by Claude Lorrain at Haddo House in Scotland; and a pair of 'Seasons' by Brueghel the Younger in the National Museum of Northern Ireland.
- Other discoveries have included works by artists such as Sir Peter Paul Rubens, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Thomas Gainsborough and Sir Peter Lely.
Grosvenor also appeared in the first five series of the BBC1 series 'Fake or Fortune?', the BBC's highest rated fine art programme. His research helped prove the attribution of works by Degas, Van Dyck, Vuillard, Gainsborough and Turner, among others. Other research work has covered subjects as diverse as the relationship between Queen Victoria and John Brown, and the identity of the Flemish sixteenth century court painter, Steven van Herwijck. He recently co-edited a book of documents on Disraeli's foreign policy published by Cambridge University Press for the Royal Historical Society.
Before all the above, he used to work in politics, advising the Conservative Party on arts and heritage, and was a member of the Arts Taskforce set up by former Prime Minister David Cameron under the chairmanship of Sir John Tusa. He limited his political options by writing a book called Crap MPs at the height of the expenses scandal. He also writes regularly for The Financial Times and The Art Newspaper, and has written articles for The Guardian, the British Art Journal, History Today and Country Life. He studied English history at Pembroke College, Cambridge, and UEA. His PhD was on foreign policy in Benjamin Disraeli’s second government.