Welch was born Evelyn Kathleen Samuels in Boston, Massachusetts, the daughter of Ellen Richards and John S. Samuels III. Her younger brother is actor John Stockwell. She was educated and raised in the United States, before moving to the UK in 1981. A graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy, Harvard University and of the Warburg Institute, University of London, she now holds a professorship as well as the office of Provost for Arts & Sciences at King's College London since October 2016, having previously served as Vice-Principal for Arts & Sciences from 2013 Previously, she had been Vice-Principal (Research & International) at Queen Mary University of London, and Pro-Vice Chancellor (Teaching & Learning) at the University of Sussex. She was a member of the Victoria and Albert Museum Board of Trustees from 2012 to 2016, the British Library Advisory Board and is the chair of Trustees of the Dulwich Picture Gallery and the Advisory Board of the Warburg Institute. She specialises in art of the Italian Renaissance, as well as material culture, on which she has published extensively. Her books include Shopping in the Renaissance: Consumer Cultures in Italy, 1400-1600, a winner of the 2005 Wolfson History Prize. Her current work is on fashion in Renaissance and Early Modern Europe which was funded by the Humanities in the European Research Area (HERA). In 2016 she became a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator award holder for her work on 'Renaissance Skin'.
Welch was formerly married to Nicholas Russell "Nick" Welch, a British advertising executive: they divorced in 1990. She is the mother of singer and songwriter Florence Welch, frontwoman of the English rock band Florence and the Machine, and has two other children and three step-children. She is married to Professor Peter Openshaw, an immunologist and Professor of Experimental Medicine at Imperial College, London.
- Art and Authority in Renaissance Milan (Yale University Press, 1995)
- Art in Renaissance Italy: 1350–1500 (Oxford University Press, 2000)
- Making and Marketing Medicine in Renaissance Florence (Rodopi, 2011)
- The Material Renaissance [editor] (Manchester University Press, 2007)
- Shopping in the Renaissance: Consumer Cultures in Italy, 1400–1600 (Yale University Press, 2005)
- Fashioning the Early Modern: Dress, Textiles and Innovation in Europe, 1500-1800' (Oxford University Press, 2017)
- "King's College London - Professor Evelyn Welch". Kcl.ac.uk. Retrieved 2017-03-07.
- "James Welch to wed Evelyn Samuels". The New York Times. New York City: NYTC. 8 August 1982. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
- Sellers, John (21 November 2011). "Florence Welch on Her Fear of Treadmills, Lady Gaga, and 'Ceremonials'". Spin. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
- "Professor Evelyn Welch". King's College London. 2015. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
- "New Vice-Principal for Arts & Sciences at King's". King's College London. 16 October 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
- "History Prize: Previous winners". The Wolfson Foundation. 2015. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
- Harris, John (27 February 2010). "The unstoppable rise of Florence Welch". The Guardian.
- "Evelyn Welch - Research Outputs". King's College, London. 2015. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
- "Interview with Evelyn Welch". Association of Art Historians. Retrieved 3 July 2016.
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