Hugh Honour, British art historian, Died at 88


Hugh Honour was born on September 26, 1927, in Eastbourne, Sussex and died on May 19, 2016.

He was a British art historian.

He was notable for his writing partnership with John Fleming.

Today, their’s A World History of Art (aka, The Visual Arts: A History), is now in its seventh edition and Honour’s Chinoiserie: The Vision of Cathay (1961) first set the phenomenon of chinoiserie in its European cultural context.

Hugh was an English reader at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree.

As a Cambridge faculty member, Honour met John Fleming, a solicitor and amateur art historian, who later became Honour’s life partner.

Hugh Honour accepted a position as Assistant director of Leeds City Art Gallery and Temple Newsam House but left after one year to join Fleming in Italy.

Together Honour and Fleming started a highly-productive writing and publishing partnership, in which Fleming managed the business side of their enterprise and Honour wrote the books.

Both were picked by publisher Allen Lane to edit the Style and Civilisation series (begun 1967), which was published by Penguin Books.

With Honour’s editorial supervision, the Style and Civilisation series published in quick succession a group of texts that have attained the status of classics, including John Shearman’s Mannerism, George Henderson’s Gothic, and Linda Nochlin’s Realism.

His contribution was the highly regarded Neo-Classicism (1968), single-handedly resuscitated the scholarly reputation of the period, which been despised or ignored during the modernist ascendancy.

Additionally, Romanticism, Honour’s companion to Neo-Classicism, was published in 1979, long after the demise of the series.

Huge Honour and John Fleming also commissioned the Architect and Society series (begun 1966); and the Art in Context series (begun 1972) for Penguin.

During 1966, they revised and completed Nikolaus Pevsner’s The Penguin Dictionary of Architecture (2nd edition 1972), and in 1977 they published The Penguin Dictionary of Decorative Arts.

The book the couple wrote, A World History of Art (also known as The Visual Arts: A History), was published in 1982, the first survey of global art history, including Western, Asian, African, Pre-Columbian and Native American art.

It is now in its 7th edition.

Hughs Honour wrote Venetian Hours of Henry James, Whistler and Sargent (1991) and also edited the writings of the Neoclassical sculptor Antonio Canova (1994).

Hugh Honour and Fleming relocated to Villa MarchiĆ² outside of Lucca, in 1962.

Hugh Honour passed away at 88 yrs old.