Christopher Brown (museum director)


Christopher Brown

Christopher Brown (1984).jpg
Christopher Brown (1984)
Christopher Paul Hadley Brown

(1948-04-15) 15 April 1948 (age 71)
Occupation Museum director
Employer University of Oxford

Christopher Paul Hadley Brown, CBE (born 15 April 1948) is a British art historian and academic. He was director of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, England from 1998 to 2014.[1][2] He is recognised as an authority on Sir Anthony van Dyck.[1]

Early life

Brown was born on 15 April 1948, in Tangier, Morocco.[3][4] His father flew Spitfires during World War II and joined civil aviation in the post war period, flying for Gibraltar Airways and British European Airways.[4] He was educated at Merchant Taylors' School, an all-boys public school in Hertfordshire.[3] He then matriculated into St Catherine's College, Oxford to study history.[3][5] In 1966, he graduated from the University of Oxford with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Modern History.[6] This was later promoted to Master of Arts (MA Oxon) as per tradition.[3] He remained at St Catherine's to complete a Diploma in Art History.[3][6] He then undertook post-graduate research at the Courtauld Institute of Art and completed his Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree.[5]


From 1971 to 1998 he worked at the National Gallery, London; first as Curator of 17th century Dutch and Flemish paintings, eventually as Chief Curator.[2]

Brown sits on the Prix Pictet advisory board.


In the 2011 New Year Honours, Brown was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) 'for services to museums'.[7]

He is an honorary fellow of his alma mater St Catherine's College, Oxford.[8]


Brown's works include:[3]

  • —— (1972). Dutch Townscape Painting (Themes and painters in the National Gallery). National Gallery. ISBN 090179144X.
  • —— (1975). Bruegel. Phaidon. ISBN 0714816639.
  • —— (1976). Dutch Painting. Phaidon. ISBN 0714816914.
  • —— (1977). Burgundy. Batsford. ISBN 0713408898. (co-author with Anthony Turner)
  • —— (1978). Dutch Townscape Painting (Themes and painters in the National Gallery) (2 ed.). National Gallery.
  • —— (1980). Rembrandt - The Complete Paintings (2 vols). Granada. ISBN 0586051341.
  • —— (1981). Carel Fabritius - Complete Edition with a Catalogue Raisonne. Cornell University Press. ISBN 978-0801413940.
  • —— (1982). Van Dyck. Phaidon Press Ltd. ISBN 978-0714822112.
  • —— (1984). Scenes of Everyday Life - Seventeenth-Century Dutch Genre Painting. Ashmolean Museum. ISBN 1854441264.
  • —— (1987). Flemish Paintings (The National Gallery schools of painting). National Gallery Company Ltd. ISBN 978-0947645410.
  • —— (1991). Anthony Van Dyck: Drawings. Thames & Hudson Ltd. ISBN 978-0500092248.
  • —— (1991). Rembrandt : the master & his workshop. New Haven. ISBN 0300051506.
  • —— (1996). Rubens's Landscapes. National Gallery Publications. ISBN 185709154X.
  • —— (1999). Van Dyck 1599-1641 (with Hans Vlieghe). Rizzoli International Publications. ISBN 978-0847821969.
  • —— (2000). Utrecht Painters of the Dutch Golden Age. National Gallery Publications. ISBN 978-1857092141.


  • Chatelet, Albert (1981). Early Dutch Painting. Phaidon. ISBN 0714820954.

He has also had articles published in a number of journals, including The Times and The Times Literary Supplement.[3]


  1. ^ a b "Van Dyck: What Lies Beneath". Fake or Fortune?. Series 2. Episode 3. 30 September 2012. BBC. Retrieved 5 October 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Our Members". National Museum Directors' Council. Retrieved 23 October 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Dr Christopher Brown, CBE Authorised Biography". Debrett's People of Today. Debrett's. Retrieved 23 October 2012.
  4. ^ a b "Traveller in Time" (pdf). Castaway. September 2014. pp. 8–15. Retrieved 25 September 2014.
  5. ^ a b "Laureation address - Professor Christopher Brown CBE". News. University of St Andrews. 25 June 2013. Retrieved 25 September 2014.
  6. ^ a b "Freedom of Oxford for Catz Alumnus". St Catherine's College Oxford. Retrieved 25 September 2014.
  7. ^ "No. 59647". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2010. pp. 6–7.
  8. ^ "Honorary Fellows". Academic staff. St Catherine's College, Oxford. Retrieved 25 September 2014.

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