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John Boardman (art historian)

Sir John Boardman, FBA (; OBE born 20 August 1927) is a classical art historian and archaeologist, "Britain's most distinguished historian of ancient Greek art."[1]


  • Biography 1
  • Selected publications 2
  • References and sources 3
  • Sources 4
  • External links 5


John Boardman was educated at Chigwell School (1938–1945); then Magdalene College, Cambridge, where he read Classics beginning in 1945. After completing two years' national service in the Intelligence Corps he spent three years in Greece, from 1952 to 1955, as the Assistant Director of the British School at Athens.

On his return to England in that year, Boardman took up the post of Assistant Keeper at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, thus beginning his lifelong affiliation to it. In 1959 he was appointed Reader in Classical Archaeology in the University of Oxford, and in 1963 was appointed a Fellow of Merton College. Here he remained until his appointment as Lincoln Professor of Classical Art and Archaeology, a position previously held by John Beazley, and the concomitant Fellowship of Lincoln College in 1978. He was knighted in 1989 and retired in 1994, and is now Emeritus Professor.[2]

John Boardman is a Fellow of the British Academy, from whom he received the Kenyon Medal for Classical Studies in 1995. He was awarded the Onassis Prize for Humanities in 2009.

He is an Honorary Fellow of Magdalene College, Cambridge, and of Merton and Lincoln Colleges in Oxford, as well as the holder of many other academic distinctions.

He has carried out archaeological excavations at many sites, including in Smyrna, Crete, Emporio in Chios and at Tocra in Libya. His voluminous publications focus primarily on the art and architecture of ancient Greece, and in particular on sculpture, engraved gems, and vase-painting.

Additionally, he is the author of the preeminent text, The Greeks Overseas, on the ancient Greek diaspora throughout the Mediterranean, in which Greek populations from the Aegean region, Greek coastal mainland and Western Turkey settled the coastal regions of Italy, North Africa, southern France, reaching as far as southern Spain. The book has now undergone four editions, as new archaeological research emerges.[3]

Selected publications

  • Greek Burial Customs (1971)
  • Archaic Greek Gems (1968)
  • Greek Gems and Finger Rings (1970, 2001)
  • Excavations at Emporio, Chios (1964)
  • Excavations at Tocra (with J. Hayes, 1966,1973)
  • The Greeks Overseas (1st ed. 1964; rev. ed. 1973; 3rd ed. 1980; 4th ed. 1999)
  • The Diffusion of Classical Art in Antiquity, a volume based on his series of Andrew Mellon Lectures at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. in 1993.
  • 4 Handbooks on Greek Vase Painting
  • 3 Handbooks on Greek Sculpture
  • Persia and the West (2000)
  • The History of Greek Vases (2001)
  • The Archaeology of Nostalgia (2002)
  • The World of Ancient Art (2006)
  • The Marlborough Gems (2009)
  • The Relief Plaques of Central Asia and China (2009/10)
  • Greece and the Hellenistic World (2002)
  • The Triumph of Dionysos (2014)
  • The Greeks in Asia (forthcoming)

References and sources

  1. ^ Interview with Diana Scarisbrick, Apollo Magazine, May 2006
  2. ^
  3. ^ John Boardman (1999). The Greeks Overseas: Their Early Colonies and Trade. Thames and Hudson.  


  • Who's Who, 2006.
  • Dictionary of Art Historians:Boardman, John
  • Beazley Archive

External links

  • Magdalene College: Famous alumni
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