Frances Spalding is an art historian, critic and biographer. She read art history at the University of Nottingham and began writing pieces for the TLS, The Burlington Magazine and art journals while still a post-graduate. She has a specialist interest in twentieth-century British art and first established her reputation with Roger Fry: Art and Life. She went on to write lives of the artists Vanessa Bell, John Minton, Duncan Grant, Gwen Raverat and John and Myfanwy Piper, as well as a biography of the poet Stevie Smith. Her survey history, British Art since 1900, in the Thames & Hudson World of Art series, has been widely used in schools, colleges and universities, and in the mid-1990s she was commissioned by Tate to write a centenary history of this national institution. Between 2000 and 2015, she taught at Newcastle University, becoming Professor of Art History. She acted as Editor of The Burlington Magazine, 2015-16, and is now is Emeritus Fellow of Clare Hall, Cambridge. She is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Art and in 2005 was made a Companion of the British Empire for Services to Literature.
Frances Spalding recently spoke at the International Conference on Biography in Britain and Germany: Comparing Theories and Practices, organised by Queen Mary University of London and its Centre for Anglo-German Cultural Relations. Her biography of Vanessa Bell, now an I.B.Tauris paperback, is available in German with Nostrum Verlag. Likewise her Virginia Woolf: Art, Life and Vision, published by the National Portrait Gallery, London, is available in German with Sieveking Verlag. Two other new books are John Minton, co-authored with Simon Martin and published by Pallant House, Chichester, to coincide with a centenary exhibition of this artist’s work; and The Illustrated Letters of Virginia Woolf, selected and introduced by Frances Spalding, published by the National Trust.
Other books currently available by Frances Spalding include Whistler (Phaidon Press), Duncan Grant (Pimlico), Dance till the Stars Come Down: John Minton (Lund Humphries), Gwen Raverat: Friends, Family and Affections (Harvill Press), Prunella Clough: regions unmapped (Lund Humphries) and The Bloomsbury Group (in the National Portrait Gallery’s “Insight” series), and John Piper, Myfanwy Piper: Lives in Art (Oxford University Press).