Frances Spalding

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Frances Spalding CBE , FRSL (née Crabtree, born 16 July 1950) [1] is a British art historian, writer and a former editor of The Burlington Magazine .



Frances Crabtree studied at the University of Nottingham and gained her PhD for a study of Roger Fry. She taught art history at Sheffield City Polytechnic (19781988) before becoming a freelance writer and curator. She returned to academic work to take up the post of professor of Art History at Newcastle University in 2000. [2]

Spalding specialises in 20th-century British art, biography and cultural history and her work includes 15 major books, essays, criticism and reviews. She curated the 2003 exhibition "John Piper in the 1930s: Abstraction on the Beach" at Dulwich Picture Gallery in south London. [3] She has also written a study of poet Stevie Smith and a biography of John and Myfanwy Piper. When reviewing John Piper, Myfanwy Piper: Lives in Art, The Independent said of Spalding "At her scintillating best, she is both a brilliant encapsulator and shrewd summer-up; above all, an enthusiast and advocate whose wisdom makes you eager for her subject." [4]

Spalding was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1984. [5] She was appointed as Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the Birthday Honours 2005 for services to literature. She is a trustee of the Charleston Trust. [6]

Spalding became the Editor of The Burlington Magazine in September 2015, leaving in August 2016. [7]

In 1974, Crabtree married Julian Spalding; the couple divorced in 1991. [2]

Selected publications


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  1. "Spalding, Prof. Frances". Who's Who 2013. A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing. 2013. Retrieved 12 January 2013. Oxford University Press, December 2012; online edition, November 2012.
  2. 1 2 The International Who's Who of Women 2002. London: Europa Publications. 2001. p. 540.
  3. "John Piper in the 1930s – Abstraction on the Beach". Studio International. Retrieved 14 February 2014.
  4. 1 2 Dunnett, Roderic (20 November 2009). "John Piper, Myfanwy Piper: lives in art, By Frances Spalding". The Independent . Retrieved 15 February 2014.
  5. "Royal Society of Literature: All Fellows". Royal Society of Literature. Archived from the original on 5 March 2010. Retrieved 10 August 2010.
  6. "The Charleston Trust, registered charity no. 1107313". Charity Commission for England and Wales.
  7. Malvern, Jack (7 October 2016). "Editor quits oldest art magazine after brush with staff". The Times . Retrieved 25 July 2019.
  8. "Vanessa Bell by Frances Spalding". Goodreads. Retrieved 12 January 2016.