John Steer, English art historian, 83

Historians in the News

Professor John Steer died on 20 February aged 83. Michael Liversidge, Emeritus Dean of Arts, remembers the man whose appointment as the first Lecturer in European Art at Bristol in 1959 marked the effective birth of the University’s Department of History of Art.

John Richardson Steer was born in Bournemouth, attended Clayesmore School in Dorset, and took his first degree in History at Oxford (Keble College). He decided to go on from there to the Courtauld Institute of Art when he graduated as a result of visiting the Ashmolean Museum and hearing some lectures on Venetian art by a visiting scholar from the Courtauld, Johannes Wilde – one of the great generation of immigrant art historians who helped to establish the subject in Britain when they were forced to leave Germany in the 1930s, an exodus that brought, among others, Sir Ernst Gombrich and Sir Nikolaus Pevsner to this country....

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