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Vic Gatrell (born 1941) is a Life Fellow of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. Born in South Africa, he graduated from Rhodes University before taking first-class honours in history and completing his Ph.D. in Cambridge. In the Cambridge History Faculty he was Lecturer and then Reader until he became Professor of British History at the University of Essex 2003–9—after which he returned to Cambridge, where he now lives.
His City of Laughter: Sex and Satire in Eighteenth-century London (2006) is study of satirical caricature and manners from 1780 to 1830.
In 2013, Penguin Books published Gatrell's The First Bohemians: Life and Art in London's Golden Age, a history of 'proto-bohemian' Covent Garden and the 'lower' art world in eighteenth-century London. It makes a plea for the significance of the arts that celebrated 'real life' rather than the nymphs, shepherds, and 'histories' favoured by the Royal Academy, by which the art of that era is usually characterised.
Gatrell is a frequent commentator on televised history programmes.
Awards and honours
- 1994 The Whitfield Prize, winner for The Hanging Tree
- 1994 Times Higher Education 'The Canon' of seminal works
- 2006 Wolfson History Prize, one of three winners for City of Laughter
- 2006 Hessell-Tiltman Prize, winner for City of Laughter
- 2006 Authors' Club Banister Fletcher Award in art history, shortlisted for City of Laughter
- 2013 Hessell-Tiltman Prize shortlist for The First Bohemians
- The Hanging Tree: Execution and the English People 1770-1868 (1994)
- City of Laughter: Sex and Satire in Eighteenth-century London (2006)
- The First Bohemians: Life and Art in London's Golden Age (2013)
- "The Canon: The Hanging Tree: Execution and the English People 1770-1868. By V.A.C. Gatrell". Times Higher Education. 12 August 2010.
- wyvern:extra at the Wayback Machine (archived July 16, 2007) Honour for Essex historian
- Timothy R. Smith (April 9, 2014). "David Reynolds wins PEN Hessell-Tiltman Prize". Washington Post. Retrieved June 7, 2014.