Duncan Robinson

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Duncan Robinson at the Magdalene College scholars' admission 2010

David Duncan Robinson CBE DL FSA[1] (born 27 June 1943),[2] was the Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge, 2002–2012. He was also the chairman of the Henry Moore Foundation and, until 2007, the director of the Fitzwilliam Museum.

Robinson was educated at The King's School, Macclesfield, Clare College, Cambridge and Yale University.[3]

Robinson is a leading authority on British art from the eighteenth century onwards. He joined the Fitzwilliam Museum as its director in 1995 upon returning to the United Kingdom from Yale, where he was the director of the Yale Center for British Art, CEO of the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, London, and adjunct professor of the History of Art at Yale. He resumed teaching at Cambridge and was elected into a professorial fellowship at Clare College. He was also a deputy lieutenant of the County of Cambridgeshire and a trustee of the Royal Collection.

In 2002, Robinson was appointed Master of Magdalene College following the retirement of Sir John Gurdon. In 2005 he was appointed as a deputy vice-chancellor of the University of Cambridge. Unusually for a head of house, he remained the director of studies for both of 'his' colleges: Magdalene and Clare. He served as master until the end of 2012; on 1 January 2013, Rowan Williams took up the role. He has been made an honorary fellow of Magdalene upon the end of his term as master.

Robinson retired as director of the Fitzwilliam Museum in 2007 in order to devote more time to Magdalene College, his research and his teaching.

He was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2008 Birthday Honours for services to the heritage of art.[4]


  • Stanley Spencer (Phaidon Press, 1993)
  • The Yale Center for British Art: A Tribute to the Genius of Louis Kahn (with David Finn) (Yale University Press, 1997)
  • Paul Mellon, A Cambridge Tribute (Fitzwilliam Museum Enterprises, 2007)


  1. ^ "ROBINSON, (David) Duncan". Who's Who. Retrieved 2010-05-26.
  2. ^ "Birthday's today". The Telegraph. 27 June 2013. Retrieved 25 June 2014. Mr D. D. Robinson, Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge, 2002–12, 70
  3. ^ "Magdalene College, Cambridge". Retrieved 12 October 2007.
  4. ^ "No. 58729". The London Gazette (Supplement). 14 June 2008. p. 8.
Academic offices
Preceded by
Sir John Gurdon
Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge
Succeeded by
Rowan Williams