Giles Waterfield (1949–2016)

Art historian, curator, and novelist Giles Waterfield, who served as director of London’s Dulwich Picture Gallery for seventeen years, has died, Javier Pes of the Art Newspaper reports.

During his tenure at Dulwich Picture Gallery, from 1979 to 1996, Waterfield increased attendance, helped the institution to attain financial stability, and appointed its first board of trustees. He also served as director of the Royal Collection Studies—an annual course organized on behalf of Royal Collection Trust by the Attingham Trust that focuses on the changing function and character of the Royal Collection by examining the monarchs responsible for its creation—and as a lecturer at numerous institutions including the Courtauld Institute of Art, the University of Notre Dame in London, and Arcadia University.

An author of several works of fiction, including The Iron Necklace (2015), Markham Thorpe (2006), and The Hound in the Left-hand Corner (2002), a novel about an overambitious British Museum director, Waterfield was awarded the McKitterick Prize, which recognizes authors’ first literary works, in 2001 for The Long Afternoon (2000). Waterfield often wrote fictional and nonfictional accounts of museums and galleries, such as The People’s Gallery (2015), which chronicles the rise of British art museums beginning in the early nineteenth century.

As a curator, Waterfield organized “Art Treasures of England” (1998) at the Royal Academy of Art, London, “Below Stairs” (2003–2004) at the National Portrait Galleries in London and Edinburgh, and “The Painting Room” (2015) at Gainsborough’s House in Sudbury.