Vivien Noakes

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Vivien Noakes (née Langley; 16 February 1937 – 17 February 2011)[1] was a British biographer, editor and critic. She was a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

She was born Vivien Mary Langley, daughter of noted aeronautical engineer Marcus Langley[2] and educated at Dunottar School, but left with A-levels. It was not until later in life that she took her degree at Manchester College, Oxford, and Somerville College, Oxford, where she was subsequently lecturer.[3]

She lectured at Harvard University and at the Yale Center for British Art. She was an expert on Edward Lear[4] and on the literature of World War I.[5]

Personal life[edit]

She was married to the painter Michael Noakes, in collaboration with whom she produced The Daily Life of The Queen: An Artist's Diary (2000); the couple had three children: Anya, Jonathan and Benedict.[6]


She died of cancer the day after her 74th birthday, a month after suffering a stroke.[7]


  • Edward Lear, The Life of a Wanderer (1968)
  • Edward Lear, 1812-1888 (1988)
  • The Painter Edward Lear (1991)
  • The Daily Life of The Queen: An Artist's Diary (2000) with Michael Noakes.



  1. ^ Siegfried Sassoon Fellowship
  2. ^ The Telegraph obituary, 11 March 2011; accessed 10 April 2014.
  3. ^ Vivien Noakes obituary,; accessed April 10, 2014.
  4. ^ Profile; accessed 10 April 2014.
  5. ^ Cambridge Science Live; accessed 10 April 2014.
  6. ^ Obituary, The Guardian, 4 March 2011; accessed 10 April 2014.
  7. ^ Notice of the death of Vivien Noakes,; accessed 10 April 2014.