||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (August 2011)|
Vic Gatrell [or V.A.C. Gatrell] is a Life Fellow of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. Born in South Africa in 1941, he graduated from Rhodes University before winning a scholarship to Cambridge. At St John's College he took first-class honours in history and completed his Ph.D., and was then awarded a Fellowship at Gonville and Caius College. In the Cambridge History Faculty he was Lecturer and then Reader in British history, and co-editor of The Historical Journal, 1976-1986. He became Professor of British History at the University of Essex 2003–9. He retained his Fellowship in Caius, and returned to Cambridge in 2009, where he now lives.
His The Hanging Tree: Execution and the English People 1780-1868 (Oxford, 1994) won the Royal Historical Society's Whitfield Prize. It is a seminal study of changing attitudes to capital punishment across a period of profound cultural change.
His City of Laughter: Sex and Satire in Eighteenth-century London (Atlantic, 2006) is a Wolfson Prize-winning 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.
Awards and honours
- 1976 T.S.Ashton Prize of the Economic History Society, winner for 'Labour Power and the Size of Firms in the Lancashire Cotton Industry', Economic History Review, XXX (1), Feb 1977
- 1994 The Whitfield Prize of the Royal Historical Society, winner for The Hanging Tree: Execution and the English People
- 1994 Times Higher Education 'The Canon' of seminal works
- 1997 Senior Visiting Fellow, Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University
- 2002 Visiting Fellow, Australian National University, Canberra
- 2006 Wolfson History Prize, City of Laughter
- 2006 PEN Hessell-Tiltman Prize, winner for City of Laughter
- 2006 Authors' Club Banister Fletcher Award in art history, shortlisted for City of Laughter
- 2006 Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction, listed for City of Laughter
- 2013 PEN Hessell-Tiltman Prize shortlist for The First Bohemians
- Robert Owen: A New View of Society and Report to the County of Lanark (Penguin, 1971)
- Crime and the Law: the Social History of Crime in Western Europe since 1500 (Europa, 1980) (with Bruce Lenman and Geoffrey Parker)
- The Hanging Tree: Execution and the English People 1770-1868 (Oxford, 1994)
- City of Laughter: Sex and Satire in Eighteenth-century London (Atlantic, 2006)
- The First Bohemians: Life and Art in London's Golden Age (Allen Lane, 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.
- Staff page on the Essex University website
-  Matthew Reisz, 'Past Mistakes', Higher Educational Supplement 15 October 2009
-  'Vic Gatrell explains what impels his writing'. History Today, May 2007
-  Gonville and Caius Fellows