Artists in Britain 1500-1640

August 19 2015

Image of Artists in Britain 1500-1640

Picture: NPG, 1554 Self-Portrait by Gerlach Flicke, a German artist at work in England in the 16th Century.

The American art historian Prof. Robert Tittler has published online an extroardinary database of artists working in Britain in the 16th and early 17th Centuries. There are some 2,578 names.

Here's the abstract of the paper:

This resource identifies all those men and women who have been identified as painters of any sort working in England, Wales, Scotland or Ireland between the years 1500 and 1640. At this posting, it includes 2,578 such entries. It includes those who were native to the British Isles and also those aliens who came and worked there at any time during this era. It also includes those whom contemporary occupational descriptions refer to as pursuing any specialty within the general category of 'painter' including, e.g., 'limner', 'picture-painter', 'glass-painter', 'herald painter', 'manuscript illuminator', etc. Each entry indicates, wherever possible, the places of origin and of residence, contemporary occupational description, dates of life and of activity, details of training, known works, and general biographical information. Each name is also accompanied by a list of sources, and by the identity of those who researched that name. 

I think this great effort, which reflects years of dedicated research, qualifies Prof. Tittler for my new award: 'Hero of Art History'. Future nominations are most welcome. To qualify, I think art historians must have done something to which we're all indebted, but which nobody else has ever done. A founder recipient - I was thinking today as I thumbed through one of his many tomes - must be Algernon Graves, whose indexing of things like loan exhibitions in the 18th and 19th Centuries is invaluable.

Update: a reader writes to nominate Frits Lugt - agreed!

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