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 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.
Grosvenor has been interested in 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, bought at auction in London as a work attributed to George Henry Harlow. The portrait was later sold at Sotheby's in London.
He has made a number of noted historical and art historical research discoveries, on subjects as varied as the relationship between Queen Victoria and John Brown, to the identity of the Flemish sixteenth century court painter, Steven van Herwijck. In 2008 he re-identified the Scottish National Portrait Gallery’s iconic portrait of Bonnie Prince Charlie by La Tour as being the Prince’s younger brother, Prince Henry.
Grosvenor is best known for finding some important lost paintings. In 2013 he discovered a 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. In 2014 he made another Culture Show programme about his discovery of a portrait of Bonnie Prince Charlie by Allan Ramsay, which was painted in Edinburgh in 1745 during the Jacobite uprising. Other discoveries have included pictures by Sir Peter Paul Rubens, Sir Anthony Van Dyck (on whom he is an acknowledged specialist), Jacob Jordaens, Claude Lorraine, Peter Breughel the Younger, and British artists such as Sir Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Gainsborough.
Grosvenor is a member of the Lord Chancellor’s Advisory Council on National Records and Archives, and the Lord Chancellor’s Forum on Historical Manuscripts and Academic Research.
Grosvenor does the research for and appears in the BBC1 series 'Fake or Fortune?'. The programme, the BBC"s highest rated fine art programme, has recently completed its 5th series, and has so far proved the attribution of works by Degas, Van Dyck, Vuillard, Gainsborough and Turner, among others. He has recently finished filming for new series for BBC4, 'Britain's Lost Masterpieces', which investigates pictures in the UK's public collection.
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 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.
Grosvenor studied English history at Pembroke College, Cambridge, and UEA. His PhD was on foreign policy in Benjamin Disraeli’s second government. He recently co-edited a book of documents on Disraeli's foreign policy published by Cambridge University Press for the Royal Historical Society.