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Spalding, Frances

Frances Spalding

Elected: 1984

Frances Spalding is an art historian, critic and biographer. She read art history at the University of Nottingham and began writing pieces for the TLSThe 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 an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Art and in 2005 was made a CBE for Services to Literature.

More of our Fellows

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Paula Johnson

Sir Martin Gilbert

Keith Alldritt

Fellowship Election Process​

Fellows are nominated by peers and elected by our Council of writers – our governing Board. Being elected a Fellow of the RSL is a lifetime honour. This role gives them the opportunity to support other writers, readers and the future of literature. The RSL connects writers in the Fellowship to one another, and to a wider readership.