James Fox (art historian)

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James Fox
Born London, England
Nationality British
Alma mater Emmanuel College, Cambridge

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 at the University of Cambridge's History of Art Department.

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 will be 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 3'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]

Year Title Channel Notes
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


External links[edit]