Christopher Brown (museum director)

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Christopher Brown

Christopher Brown (1984).jpg

Christopher Brown (1984)
BornChristopher Paul Hadley Brown
(1948-04-15) 15 April 1948 (age 70)
Occupation Museum director
Employer University of Oxford

Christopher Paul Hadley Brown, CBE (born 15 April 1948) is a British art historian and academic. He was director of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, England from 1998 to 2014. [1] [2] He is recognised as an authority on Sir Anthony van Dyck. [1]

Order of the British Empire order of chivalry of British constitutional monarchy

The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is a British order of chivalry, rewarding contributions to the arts and sciences, work with charitable and welfare organisations, and public service outside the civil service. It was established on 4 June 1917 by King George V and comprises five classes across both civil and military divisions, the most senior two of which make the recipient either a knight if male or dame if female. There is also the related British Empire Medal, whose recipients are affiliated with, but not members of, the order.

Art history the academic study of objects of art in their historical development

Art history is the study of objects of art in their historical development and stylistic contexts; that is genre, design, format, and style. The study includes painting, sculpture, architecture, ceramics, furniture, and other decorative objects.

Ashmolean Museum University Museum of Art and Archaeology in Oxford, England

The Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology on Beaumont Street, Oxford, England, is the world's first university museum. Its first building was erected in 1678–83 to house the cabinet of curiosities that Elias Ashmole gave to the University of Oxford in 1677.


Early life

Brown was born on 15 April 1948, in Tangier, Morocco. [3] [4] His father flew Spitfires during World War II and joined civil aviation in the post war period, flying for Gibraltar Airways and British European Airways. [4] He was educated at Merchant Taylors' School, an all-boys public school in Hertfordshire. [3] He then matriculated into St Catherine's College, Oxford to study history. [3] [5] In 1966, he graduated from the University of Oxford with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Modern History. [6] This was later promoted to Master of Arts (MA Oxon) as per tradition. [3] He remained at St Catherine's to complete a Diploma in Art History. [3] [6] He then undertook post-graduate research at the Courtauld Institute of Art and completed his Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree. [5]

Tangier City in Tanger-Tetouan-Al Hoceima, Morocco

Tangier is a major city in northwestern Morocco. It is on the Maghreb coast at the western entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar, where the Mediterranean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean off Cape Spartel. The town is the capital of the Tanger-Tetouan-Al Hoceima region, as well as the Tangier-Assilah prefecture of Morocco.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

British European Airways airline

British European Airways (BEA), formally British European Airways Corporation, was a British airline which existed from 1946 until 1974.


From 1971 to 1998 he worked at the National Gallery, London; first as Curator of 17th century Dutch and Flemish paintings, eventually as Chief Curator. [2]

National Gallery Art museum in London

The National Gallery is an art museum in Trafalgar Square in the City of Westminster, in Central London. Founded in 1824, it houses a collection of over 2,300 paintings dating from the mid-13th century to 1900.

Brown sits on the Prix Pictet advisory board.


In the 2011 New Year Honours, Brown was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) 'for services to museums'. [7]

The New Year Honours is a part of the British honours system, with New Year's Day, 1 January, being marked by naming new members of orders of chivalry and recipients of other official honours. A number of other Commonwealth realms also mark this day in this way.

He is an honorary fellow of his alma mater St Catherine's College, Oxford. [8]

St Catherines College, Oxford college of the University of Oxford

St Catherine's College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England. Its motto is Nova et Vetera, which translates as: "Things both new and old".


Brown's works include: [3]

International Standard Book Number Unique numeric book identifier

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric commercial book identifier which is intended to be unique. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency.


He has also had articles published in a number of journals, including The Times and The Times Literary Supplement. [3]

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  1. 1 2 "Van Dyck: What Lies Beneath". Fake or Fortune?. Series 2. Episode 3. 30 September 2012. BBC. Retrieved 5 October 2012.
  2. 1 2 "Our Members". National Museum Directors' Council. Retrieved 23 October 2012.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "Dr Christopher Brown, CBE Authorised Biography". Debrett's People of Today. Debrett's . Retrieved 23 October 2012.
  4. 1 2 "Traveller in Time" (pdf). Castaway. September 2014. pp. 8–15. Retrieved 25 September 2014.
  5. 1 2 "Laureation address - Professor Christopher Brown CBE". News. University of St Andrews. 25 June 2013. Retrieved 25 September 2014.
  6. 1 2 "Freedom of Oxford for Catz Alumnus". St Catherine's College Oxford. Retrieved 25 September 2014.
  7. "No. 59647". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2010. pp. 6–7.
  8. "Honorary Fellows". Academic staff. St Catherine's College, Oxford. Retrieved 25 September 2014.