Art history professor Giles Waterfield dies

Author: Rina Buznea

Giles Waterfield

Staff and students at the London Global Gateway were deeply saddened to learn of the sudden passing of art history professor Giles Waterfield on November 5, 2016.       

Giles Waterfield joined the London faculty in the Fall of 1999, teaching a number of courses in art history over the years. His signature course, ‘London as Art Capital’, drew on his rich network of connections with the arts world in London and beyond. It offered students an incredible insight into how art is created, displayed, assigned value, and appreciated.          

Judy Hutchinson, Director of Student Affairs and long-time friend of Giles, said:

“Giles was a true Renaissance man and believed that there are never limits on one’s capacity for development. His knowledge and interests seemed to know no boundaries, and he had a passion to share that knowledge as a teacher – a vocation he never viewed as mundane, even in the midst of all of the impressive activities, travels and lectures he was asked to undertake.

“Giles went above and beyond the basic requirements of teaching and his dedication to our students was nothing short of remarkable. He has opened up the eyes and minds of many of our students to the sometimes alien world of art, and I have known students who actually changed the course of their studies because they were so influenced by experiencing one class taught by Giles Waterfield.”

Alice Tyrell, Assistant Director for Academic Programs and London Librarian, said:

“Giles was an inspirational teacher – unfailingly kind, committed to his students’ academic and personal growth, and always open-handed with his time, attention, expertise, and passion.         

“With his colleagues too, Giles was a force for good – collegial, engaged, enthusiastic, and great company. He was instrumental in creating internship placements in galleries for our students, and his book launches were always a highlight of our events schedule.      

“Giles will be greatly missed by faculty and staff, and remembered by a generation of students as an incredible professor, and the very model of a gentleman and a scholar.”

Those who knew Giles are invited to contribute to an online book of condolences.

Giles Waterfield And Students On A Visit To John Hoyland's London Studio
Giles Waterfield and students on a visit to John Hoyland's London studio

More about Giles Waterfield’s work

In addition to lecturing at the University of Notre Dame in London and Arcadia University, Giles Waterfield was Director of the Dulwich Picture Gallery from 1979-1996, Director of Royal Collection Studies (organized on behalf of Royal Collection Trust by the Attingham Trust), and Associate Lecturer at the Courtauld Institute of Art.

Giles Waterfield’s first novel, The Long Afternoon, won the McKitterick Prize. His recent Yale publication, The People's Galleries Art Museums and Exhibitions in Britain, 1800-1914, has been described as exceptional and “a sophisticated work of scholarship" (TLS).

Read more about Giles Waterfield’s achievements

Read Apollo Magazine’s tribute to Giles Waterfield