Lisa Jardine

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Lisa Anne Jardine
Born Lisa Anne Bronowski
(1944-04-12) 12 April 1944 (age 71)
Nationality British
Occupation Historian
Spouse(s) John Hare
Parent(s) Jacob Bronowski (father);
Rita Coblentz (mother)
Lisa Jardine's voice
Recorded December 2008 from the BBC Radio 4 programme In Our Time

Lisa Anne Jardine FRS CBE FRHistS (born 12 April 1944), née Lisa Anne Bronowski, is a British historian of the early modern period. From 1990 to 2011 she was Centenary Professor of Renaissance Studies[1] and Director of the Centre for Editing Lives and Letters at Queen Mary, University of London. From 2008 to Jan 2014 she was Chair of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA).[2] Jardine was a Member of Council of the Royal Institution, but resigned from that post in September 2009. On 1 September 2012, she relocated with her research centre and staff to University College London (UCL) to become founding director of its Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in the Humanities.

Life and career[edit]

Jardine is currently Professor of Renaissance Studies at University College, London, where she is Director of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in the Humanities and Director of the Centre for Editing Lives and Letters. She is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and an Honorary Fellow of King's College, and of Jesus College, Cambridge. She holds honorary doctorates of Letters from the University of St Andrews, Sheffield Hallam University and the Open University, and an honorary doctorate of Science from the University of Aberdeen.[3]

She was a Trustee of the Victoria and Albert Museum for eight years, and was for five years a member of the Council of the Royal Institution in London. She is Patron of the Archives & Records Association and the Orange Prize. For the academic year 2007-08 she was seconded to the Royal Society in London as Expert Advisor to its Collections. She is a Trustee of the Chelsea Physic Garden.

From 2008 to Jan 2014 Jardine served as Chair of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority – the UK government regulator for assisted reproduction. In December 2011 she was appointed a Director of The National Archives. In November 2011 she was made an Honorary Bencher of the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple. She was awarded the Francis Bacon Award in the History of Science by the California Institute of Technology in 2012, and collected the Bacon Medal for this award at the annual History of Science Society meeting in San Diego in September 2012. In November 2012 she received the British Academy President's Medal. In 2013–14 she will serve as President of the British Science Association, which in 2012 made her an Honorary Fellow.

Jardine has published over fifty scholarly articles in refereed journals and books, and seventeen full-length books, both for an academic and for a general readership, a number of them in co-authorship with others (including Professor Anthony Grafton, Professor Alan Stewart and Professor Julia Swindells). She is the author of several best-selling general books, including Worldly Goods: A New History of the Renaissance, Ingenious Pursuits: Building the Scientific Revolution, and biographies of Sir Christopher Wren and Robert Hooke. Her book on Anglo-Dutch reciprocal influence in the seventeenth century, entitled Going Dutch: How England Plundered Holland's Glory, published by HarperCollins UK in 2008 and HarperCollins USA in 2009, won the prestigious Cundill International Prize in History.

Professor Jardine writes and reviews widely for the media, and has presented and appears regularly on arts, history and current affairs programmes for TV and radio. She is a regular writer and presenter of A Point of View, on BBC Radio 4: a book of the first two series of her talks was published by Preface Publishing in March 2008 and a second in 2009. She judged the 1996 Whitbread Prize for fiction, the 1999 Guardian First Book Award, the 2000 Orwell Prize and was Chair of Judges for the 1997 Orange Prize and the 2002 Man Booker Prize.

During the first semester of the 2008/9 academic year Professor Jardine was Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences, jointly sponsored by NIAS and the Royal Library in The Hague (the KB). From 2009-10 she was a Scaliger Visiting Fellow at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands, and held the Sarton Chair and received the Sarton Medal at the University of Ghent in Belgium. She sat for several years on the prestigious Apeldoorn British Dutch Conference Steering Board, and is a member of the Recommendation Committee Stichting Huygens Tentoonstelling Foundation, set up to oversee the Constantijn and Christian Huygens Exhibition in the Grote Kerk in The Hague in 2013.

Lisa Jardine is the eldest child of the late Jacob Bronowski and the sculptor Rita Coblentz.[4] Her father was the subject of her Conway Memorial Lecture, Things I Never Knew About My Father, delivered at the Conway Hall Ethical Society on the 26th June 2014. She is married to the architect John Hare and has two sons and a daughter. Her professional name derives from the surname of her first husband, Nicholas Jardine. She is cousin of television director Laurence Moody and actress Clare Lawrence Moody.

Jardine was educated at Cheltenham Ladies' College, Newnham College, Cambridge, and the University of Essex. For two years she took the Cambridge Mathematical Tripos before, in her final year and under the influence of Raymond Williams, she read English. She studied for an MA in the Literary Theory of Translation with Professor Donald Davie at the University of Essex. She took her PhD at Cambridge with a thesis entitled Francis Bacon: Discovery and the Art of Discourse (subsequently published by Cambridge University Press).

She is the author of many books, both scholarly and general, including The Curious Life of Robert Hooke: The Man Who Measured London, Ingenious Pursuits: Building the Scientific Revolution and On a Grander Scale: the Outstanding Career of Sir Christopher Wren. Her 2008 book Going Dutch won the 2009 Cundill Prize in History at McGill University, the word's premier history book prize worth $75,000. On 26 January 2011, Jardine appeared in a BBC documentary investigating her father's life and the history of science in the 20th century.[5]

Jardine is a former chairman of the governing body at Westminster City School for Boys in London (which her younger son attended), and a former Chair of the Curriculum Committee on the governing body of St Marylebone Church of England School for Girls also in London.



  • Francis Bacon: Discovery and the Art of Discourse (1974)
  • Still Harping on Daughters: Women and Drama in the Age of Shakespeare (1983)
  • From Humanism to the Humanities (1986) with Anthony Grafton
  • What's Left?: Women in Culture and the Labour Movement (1989) with Julia Swindells
  • Erasmus, Man of Letters: The Construction of Charisma in Print (1993)
  • Reading Shakespeare Historically (1996)
  • Worldly Goods: A New History of the Renaissance (1996)
  • Erasmus: The Education of a Christian prince with the Panegyric for Archduke Philip of Austria (1997) editor
  • Hostage to Fortune: The Troubled Life of Francis Bacon (1998) with Alan Stewart
  • Ingenious Pursuits: Building the Scientific Revolution (1999)
  • Francis Bacon: The New Organon (2000) editor with Michael Silverthorne
  • Global Interests: Renaissance Art Between East and West (2000) with Jerry Brotton
  • On a Grander Scale: The Outstanding Career of Sir Christopher Wren (2002)
  • For the Sake of Argument (2003)
  • The Curious Life of Robert Hooke: The Man Who Measured London (2003)
  • London's Leonardo: The Life and Work of Robert Hooke (2003) with Jim Bennett, Michael Cooper and Michael Hunter
  • Grayson Perry (2004)
  • The Awful End of Prince William the Silent: The First Assassination of a Head of State with a Hand-Gun (2005)
  • Going Dutch: How England Plundered Holland's Glory (2008)




External links[edit]