Rachel Owen

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Dr Rachel Owen PhD
Born Rachel Mary Owen
30 November 1968
Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom
Died 18 December 2016 (aged 48)
Spouse(s) Thom Yorke
Children 2
Website rachel-owen.co.uk

Rachel Mary Owen (30 November 1968 – 18 December 2016)[1] was a British photographer, printmaker and lecturer on medieval Italian literature.[2]

Life and career[edit]

Owen was born in Cardiff, Wales.[3] She received a B.A. (Hons) in Italian and Fine Art (Painting) specialising in Printmaking, from University of Exeter.[4] In the 1990s she lived in Poggetto[clarification needed] with two students and studied painting at the Accademia di Belle Arti of Florence, where she fell in love with Dante's work.[5] In 2001, Owen received a PhD from the University of London, where her research was on the illustrations in Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy.[6]

Owen was a lecturer in Italian with a focus on medieval Italian literature, where she examined illustration and its reception in Dante's Divine Comedy.[2] She taught art history and Dante studies for visiting students at University of Oxford.[7] She was also a fine-art printmaker,[8] and a member of the Oxford Printmakers Co-operative.[1][9] She mixed photography with printmaking[10] and her work explored ideas of transformation using photographic screenprints.[9] Her artwork was used on the cover of the 1993 Radiohead single "Pop Is Dead," included in the rerelease of the band's debut album Pablo Honey.[11]

Owen died of cancer on 18 December 2016 at the age of 48.[12]

Personal life[edit]

For 23 years Owen was in a relationship with Radiohead singer Thom Yorke, whom she met while they were students at University of Exeter.[13][14][12] She and Yorke had two children, a son Noah, born in 2001, and a daughter Agnes, born in 2004.[15] According to the Times, Yorke and Owen married in a secret ceremony in May 2003 in Oxfordshire, which was not reported to the media.[16] In August 2015, the couple announced they had separated amicably "after 23 highly creative and happy years".[17] Several critics believed the separation influenced the lyrics of Radiohead's 2016 album A Moon Shaped Pool.[18][19][20] Radiohead dedicated the 2017 OKNOTOK reissue of their 1997 album OK Computer to Owen's memory.[21]


  • 2015: Ballon Rouge Art, Thame, Oxfordshire, England, 7–15 November 2015[22]



  1. ^ a b Ray, Emily (20 December 2016). "Dr. Rachel Owen: 1968–2016. Partner of Radiohead's Thom Yorke Was Accomplished Printmaker". Paste. 
  2. ^ a b "Dr Rachel Owen (1968–2016)". Pembroke College, Oxford. 19 December 2016. 
  3. ^ Gurpreet Narwan, Fariha Karim (2016-12-24). "Marriage secret of Radiohead star and the woman he lost to cancer". The Times. Retrieved 2018-02-27. 
  4. ^ "Art Exhibition 'Rachel Owen: The Inferno Illustrations'". www.pmb.ox.ac.uk. Retrieved 2018-02-27. 
  5. ^ Paloscia, Fulvio (23 September 2012). "Rachel, l'altra artista di casa Yorke "A Firenze mi innamorai di Dante"". la Repubblica (in Italian). Firenze. 
  6. ^ Owen, Rachel Mary (2001). Illuminated Manuscripts of Dante's Commedia (1330–1490) in Their Cultural and Artistic Context (Thesis (PhD)). London: Royal Holloway, University of London. OCLC 556889838. 
  7. ^ Owen, Rachel; Calè, Luisa (2007). "The Image of Dante, Poet and Pilgrim". In Braida, Antonella. Dante on View: The Reception of Dante in the Visual and Performing Arts. London: Ashgate. pp. 83–94. ISBN 978-0-7546-5896-2. OCLC 83609616. 
  8. ^ "Rachel Owen: Biography". RachelOwen.co.uk. Archived from the original on 21 October 2015. 
  9. ^ a b Owen, Rachel. "Rachel Owen: Artist Statement". Oxford Printmakers Co-operative. 
  10. ^ Slawson, Nicola (20 December 2016). "Thom Yorke's ex-partner Rachel Owen dies at 48". The Guardian. 
  11. ^ Fitzmaurice, Larry (15 January 2009). "Radiohead's First Three Albums Reissued with Extras". Spin. 
  12. ^ a b Vincent, Alice (20 December 2016). "Thom Yorke's ex-partner, Rachel Owen, dies aged 48". The Daily Telegraph. 
  13. ^ Randall, Mac (2012). Exit Music: The Radiohead Story (Updated 4th ed.). Milwaukee, WI: Backbeat Books. ISBN 978-1-458-47147-5. OCLC 946707168. 
  14. ^ Binelli, Mark (7 February 2008). "The Future According to Radiohead: How they ditched the record business and still topped the charts". Rolling Stone. 
  15. ^ McLean, Craig (17 June 2006). "Thom Yorke: 'It's not my job to do business with politicians'". The Guardian. 
  16. ^ "Marriage secret of Radiohead star and the woman he lost to cancer". Retrieved 27 December 2016. 
  17. ^ NME News Desk (15 August 2015). "Thom Yorke and Rachel Owen announce separation". NME. 
  18. ^ Hughes, Tim (20 December 2016). "Tribute paid to Dr Rachel Owen, artist, academic and former partner of Radiohead's Thom Yorke, who has died". Oxford Mail. 
  19. ^ Leight, Elias (20 December 2016). "Dr. Rachel Owen, Former Partner of Thom Yorke, Dead at Age 48". Rolling Stone. 
  20. ^ Larson, Jeremy D. (9 May 2016). "Radiohead's A Moon Shaped Pool: The 5 Most Important Things To Know". Pitchfork. Retrieved 9 May 2016. 
  21. ^ Cook-Wilson, Winston (22 June 2017). "Radiohead's OKNOTOK Dedicated to Thom Yorke's Late Partner Rachel Owen". Spin. Retrieved 23 June 2017. 
  22. ^ "Thom Yorke's Ex-Partner Rachel Owen Loses Her Battle With Cancer". viveremilano.biz. Retrieved 2018-02-27.