Professor Phillip Lindley

MA PhD. (Cantab.), FSA

  • Excellence 100 Professor of Art History

Research groups and centres

Phillip Lindley is an art-historian and curator, with a unique chronological and subject range from medieval to contemporary and with specialisms in historic sculpture, in medieval and early modern architecture, and also in conceptual art. His academic training was in Cambridge, where he was awarded a scholarship and read Art History at Downing College.

His PhD research on fourteenth-century architecture and art was supervised by Professor Jean Michel Massing [whose Festschrift he co-edited many years later, in 2016]. He was awarded a Bye Fellowship at Downing and then became a Research Fellow at St Catharine’s College. In 1987, he won the Reginald Taylor Prize of the British Archaeological Association. He was awarded a British Academy Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the University of York and was subsequently appointed to a lectureship at Leicester University where he became Head of Department.

Phillip was a visiting scholar at St. Catharine's College in 2003 and at the Yale Center for British Art, Yale University, in 2009. He is currently a visiting Fellow at Wolfson College, Cambridge, where he is Curator of the Frangenberg Collection of conceptual art.

Phillip’s research has been funded by UKRI, the Henry Moore Foundation, the British Academy, the Leverhulme Foundation, the Paul Mellon Centre and the Scouloudi Foundation.

In 2010 he secured a £497,907 major grant, with three PhD studentships, from the AHRC/EPSRC funded Science & Heritage Programme. He headed a collaborative multi-disciplinary team including historians at Oxford and Yale universities and space scientists, computer scientists, museologists and archaeologists from Leicester, as well as staff from English Heritage and the Norfolk Museums and Archaeology Service. The Representing Re-Formation project employed 3D scanning, CAD and Rapid Prototyping and multi-disciplinary Arts research to analyse the Tudor monuments of the Dukes of Norfolk at Thetford and Framlingham.

The project resulted in a number of publications, an exhibition, two Cambridge conferences and outreach events at Thetford and Framlingham, and led to the long-term loan by the British Museum of two panels originally planned for the monuments, to the Ancient House Museum, Thetford. Professor Lindley was subsequently invited to investigate the monuments of the Dukes and Duchesses of Montagu at Warkton in Northamptonshire: his research supported a successful Lottery Funding bid for their conservation and led to several other publications. Currently he is editing a book on E.S. Prior and Arthur Gardner and is also working on the monuments of the Queensberry Dukes and Duchesses in Scotland. He is co-founder [with John Atkin] of the Sculpture Research Group at Loughborough University, a leading international group of historians and practitioners.

Phillip directs the Graphic Design and Visualisation MA. At undergraduate level, he teaches at parts A, B and C levels.

Eleven of Phillip’s PhD students have received their doctorates. Currently he co-supervises four PhD students.

Phillip was on the organising committees for The Age of Chivalry exhibition at the Royal Academy in 1987 and Gothic: Art for England 1400-1547 at the Victoria & Albert Museum in 2003. He has also been the curator for a number of exhibitions, most notably Image and Idol at Tate Britain, co-curated with the sculptor Richard Deacon in 2001-2, Thetford’s Lost Tudor Sculptures (with Prof. Ross Parry) at the Ancient House Museum, Thetford in 2013-14 and Richard Deacon: This is where ideas come from, at Wolfson College, Cambridge 2015. Curatorial work has become an increasing focus of his attention: at Wolfson, he recently curated Jonathan Meuli: Approaches to Abstraction in 2019; The Frangenberg Donation in 2020; and Amikam Toren: Representation as a Matter of Fact, in 2021. At Loughborough, he curated Drawing Together in 2020, in the Martin Hall gallery, an exhibition which brought world-class drawings by artists such as Richard Deacon, Elizabeth Price, Simon Patterson and Soheila Sokhanvari to Loughborough for students to study.

In 2011 he was the UK representative in History of Art for the EU ‘Tuning’ Project, Sectoral Qualifications Framework and in 2015 was a member of the Heritage Science team at the Smithsonian, Washington, USA. In 2018/19, Phillip secured the donation of one of the finest private collections of conceptual art in the country [c.700 works] to Wolfson College, Cambridge, through the gift of Dr Thomas Frangenberg’s executors. Without an art gallery of its own, Wolfson houses its exhibitions in a central space, the Combination Room, where every member of college will see it. Exhibitions are also accessible to visitors at weekends.