James Fox (art historian)

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James Fox
BornLondon, England
Alma materEmmanuel College, Cambridge
GenreArt history

James Fox is a British art historian and BAFTA nominated broadcaster. Fox is a Fellow of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, and specializes in 20th-century art.

Education and career[edit]

Fox received a starred first class degree in History of Art from Emmanuel College, Cambridge.[1] He then undertook an MPhil on British modernism, and a PhD on history of art entitled Business Unusual: Art in Britain During the First World War, 1914–18,[2] both at the University of Cambridge and funded by the AHRC. In 2009 he was appointed as a Research Fellow at Churchill College, Cambridge. He joined Gonville and Caius College in 2010. He has been a visiting scholar at Harvard University and the Yale Center for British Art at Yale University.[1]

In 2015 Fox's academic monograph about the art of the First World War was published. Fox was also commissioned by Allen Lane (imprint) to write two major non-fiction books, the first of which will be a cultural history of colour.

For four years, while still a student at Cambridge, Fox worked with the British art critic, Waldemar Januszczak, at his production company ZCZ films. In 2008 Fox and Januszczak co-curated the Statuephilia exhibition at the British Museum; this included work by Damien Hirst, Antony Gormley and Marc Quinn.[3]

In 2014 Fox was chosen as one of Apollo Magazine's '40 Under 40': the 'most talented and inspirational young people who are driving forward the art world today'.[4]


Fox presents documentaries on art and culture for the BBC. In 2010, he presented the ninety-minute film The Art of Cornwall.[5] A three-part series entitled British Masters was broadcast on BBC Four in July 2011.[6] The series adopted a highly provocative approach: The Times called the series 'superb television... passionate, accessible and authoritative';[7] and The Observer called him 'absurdly lucid',[8] and the Financial Times called it 'excellent' and engaging'.[9] In April 2012 British Masters was nominated for a BAFTA for Best Specialist Factual programme.[10]

In August 2012, BBC Four broadcast his new series, A History of Art in Three Colours,[11] an exploration of art history with reference to the colours white, gold and blue. In reviews of the series, Fox was singled out for praise. The Times wrote that he belonged 'in the Premier League of television presenters. He knows and loves his subject, so he doesn’t need to wave his arms around and resort to hyperbole. He is clear, unpretentious, insightful and willing to flout fashion, and he is a superb storyteller'.[12]

In 2013, the Royal Television Society nominated Fox for its best presenter of the year award [13]

Fox has written for The Times, The Telegraph and The Independent , and has appeared on Newsnight, The Review Show, and BBC Radio 4's Something Understood.

In 2014, Fox presented a three-part programme called 'A Very British Renaissance,' on the BBC 2 TV channel, tracing a renaissance in British culture commencing in the early 1500s.[14]

In August and September 2014, Fox presented a three-part series for BBC 4 called Bright Lights Brilliant Minds: a Tale of Three Cities, examining the culture and politics of Vienna in 1908, Paris in 1928 and New York in 1951.

In May 2016, he presented Forest, Field & Sky: Art Out of Nature on BBC 4, which explored contemporary land art and work incorporating the natural world.[15] In September of the same year, he presented Who's Afraid of Conceptual Art? on BBC Four.

In December 2016 CNN released the first episode of their animated series,[16] written and narrated by Fox. Each 90 second episode focuses on one colour and follows a fact-filled narrative. The first episode is Blue and was released on 18 December 2016 on cnn.com/colorscope and airs on CNN.

Year Title Channel Notes
2018 Oceans Apart: Art and the Pacific BBC Four Three part series. September 2018
2017 The Art of Japanese Life BBC Four Three part series. June 2017
2016 Colorscope CNN Ongoing series, December 2016[17]
2016 Who's Afraid of Conceptual Art? BBC Four September 2016
2016 Forest, Field & Sky BBC Four May 2016
2014 Bright Lights, Brilliant Minds BBC Four Three part series. August 2014
2014 A Very British Renaissance BBC Two Three part series. March 2014
2012 A History of Art in Three Colours BBC Four Three part series. May 2013
2011 British Masters BBC Four Three part series. July 2011
2010 The Art of Cornwall BBC Four December 2010


  1. ^ a b "James Fox". History of Art Faculty. University of Cambridge, UK. Archived from the original on 12 December 2009.
  2. ^ Listing of Fox's PhD Thesis, The Institute of Historical Research, UK.
  3. ^ Statuephilia, British Museum, UK.
  4. ^ http://www.apollo-magazine.com/category/40-under-40/
  5. ^ BBC Four. "The Art of Cornwall".
  6. ^ Masters, BBC Four Press Office, 3 March 2011.
  7. ^ David Chater, David Chater,Monday's TV: British Masters, The Times, 16 July 2011.
  8. ^ Euan Ferguson, TV, The Observer, 17 July 2011.
  9. ^ Robson, Leo. "Oil on Canvas, Pixels on Laptop". Financial Times. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
  10. ^ "BAFTA Nominations 2012". Retrieved 11 April 2018.
  11. ^ BBC. "A History of Art in Three Colours".
  12. ^ The Times. "Wednesday's TV".
  13. ^ RTS. "Programme Awards". Archived from the original on 7 May 2013.
  14. ^ Lucy Mangan, Last Night's TV- A Very British Renaissance, The Guardian, 21 March 2014
  15. ^ [1]
  16. ^ Color Scope is produced by Sarah-Grace Mankarious at CNN, cnn.com/colorscope
  17. ^ "Colorscope; A cultural exploration of color". CNN. Retrieved 11 April 2018.

External links[edit]