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Jonathan Woolfson

Director, Sotheby's Institute of Art, London

PhD, Warburg Institute, University of London
MA, University of Oxford

Jonathan’s PhD is from the Warburg Institute where he specialized in the cultural history of England, Italy and Europe in the sixteenth century. He has taught at a variety of institutions including the University of Kent, the Victoria and Albert Museum, New York University, Loyola University of Chicago and the University of Oxford, where he was Stipendiary Lecturer in History at Hertford College. He served as Academic Director of the Lorenzo de’Medici Institute in Florence for four years before joining Sotheby’s Institute in 2010.

As Director of Semester and Summer Programmes, Jonathan pioneered new educational offerings built around art finance, art crime, art museums and the art and luxury dyad and was instrumental in establishing partnerships with prestigious US universities including Cornell, the University of California and the University of Southern California. Following promotion to Deputy Director in 2014, and appointment as Director in 2019, he has led the Institute’s relationships with the University of Manchester, the Quality Assurance Agency and the Office for Students.

He is a Founder and Board Member of TIAMSA, The International Art Market Studies Association, a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, and a former British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow. His publications include Padua and the Tudors: English Students in Italy, 1485-1603 (1998), Reassessing Tudor Humanism (2002), and Palgrave Advances in Renaissance Historiography (2004). ‘Renaissance Intersections: The Arts of Italy and Early Tudor Visual Experience’ was published in 2019.

Jonathan Woolfson
  • Professional Affiliations

    Professional Affiliations

    Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

    Founder and Board Member of TIAMSA, The International Art Market Studies Association.
  • Selected Publications

    Selected Publications


    Palgrave Advances in Renaissance Historiography (editor. Palgrave, 2005).

    Reassessing Tudor Humanism (editor. Palgrave, 2002).

    Padua and the Tudors: English Students in Italy, 1485-1603 (University of Toronto Press, 1998, and James Clarke & Co., 1998).

    Journal Articles:

    ‘Renaissance Intersections: The Arts of Italy and Early Tudor Visual Experience’, Visual Resources, an international journal on images and their uses, 2018.

    ‘Padua and English Students Revisited’, Renaissance Studies, 27, 2013.

    ‘The Renaissance of Bees’, Renaissance Studies, 24, 2010. Winner of Society for Renaissance Studies Annual Prize.

    ‘Lambert Barnard in Chichester Cathedral: Ecclesiastical Politics and the Tudor Royal Image’, The Antiquaries Journal, 87, 2007 (co-authored with Deborah Lush).

    ‘Thomas Wyatt in Italy’, Renaissance Quarterly, 58, 2005 (co-authored with Susan Brigden).

    ‘Bishop Fox’s Bees and the Early English Renaissance’, Reformation and Renaissance Review, 5, 2003.

    ‘Reginald Pole and his Greek Manuscripts in Oxford: A Reconsideration’, Bodleian Library Record, 17, 2000.

    ‘A “Remote and ineffectual Don”? Richard Croke in the Biblioteca Marciana’, Bulletin of the Society for Renaissance Studies, 17, 2000.

    ‘The Paduan Sojourns of Samuel and Simeon Foxe’, Quaderni per la storia dell’Università di Padova, 30, 1997.

    ‘John Claymond, Pliny the Elder, and the Early History of Corpus Christi College, Oxford’, The English Historical Review, 112, 1997.

    ‘Aspects of Collecting in Renaissance Padua: A Bust of Socrates for Niccolò Leonico Tomeo’, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 58, 1995 (co-authored with Andrew Gregory).

    ‘English Students at Padua, 1480-1580’, Bulletin of the Society for Renaissance Studies, 11, 1993.

    Book Chapters: 

    ‘Galenic Utopias: English Medical Students at Padua and the English Humanist Context, 1520s-1550s’, in English Students of Medicine at the University of Padua during the Renaissance, ed. Daniela Marrone, Linda Luxon, Gaetano Thiene (Padua University Press, 2016).

    ‘Sir Philip Hoby at the Baths of Caldiero’, in Mantova e il Rinascimento italiano: studi in onore di David S. Chambers, ed. P. Jackson and G. Rebecchini (Sometti, 2011).

    ‘Thomas Hoby, William Thomas and Mid-Tudor Travel to Italy’, in The Oxford Handbook of Tudor Literature, 1485-1603, ed. C. Shrank and M. Pincombe (Oxford University Press, 2009). Winner of Sixteenth Century Studies Society Roland H. Bainton Prize for Reference Works, 2010

    ‘Introduction’ and ‘Burckhardt’s Ambivalent Renaissance’, in Palgrave Advances in Renaissance Historiography (Palgrave, 2005).

    ‘Introduction’ and ‘Between Bruni and Hobbes: Aristotle’s Politics in Tudor Intellectual Culture’, in Reassessing Tudor Humanism (Palgrave, 2002).

    Biographies in Works of Reference:

    Thomas Hoby, Richard Morison, Richard Pace and William Thomas in The Encyclopaedia of English Renaissance Literature, ed. Alan Stewart and Garrett Sullivan (Blackwell, 2012).

    John Claymond, Richard Croke, Edmund Harvel, Richard Morison, Robert Wakefield and Thomas Wilson in The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004).

    John Claymond, Richard Croke and Reginald Pole in Dictionary of British Classicists, 1500-1960, ed.Robert B. Todd (Thoemmes Press, 2004).

    John Case and Thomas Wilson, in Encyclopaedia of Renaissance Philosophy, ed. M. Sgarbi (Springer, forthcoming).


    The Historian (2011: Bietenholz, Encounters with a Radical Erasmus; 2015: Bettridge and Lipscombe, Henry VIII and the Court).

    Renaissance Quarterly (2010: Carlsmith, A Renaissance Education; 2012: Sowerby, Renaissance and Reform in Tudor England).

    Politics and Religion (2009: Meserve, Empires of Islam in Renaissance Historical Thought).

    Modern Languages Review (2003: Grendler, The Universities of the Italian Renaissance).

    The Library (2001: Devereux, A Bibliography of John Rastell; 2002: Carley, The Libraries of King Henry VIII).

    The Journal of Ecclesiastical History (2001: McManamon, Pierpaolo Vergerio and St Jerome; 2003: Fragnito, Church, Censorship and Culture in Early Modern Italy; 2008: Grendler, Renaissance Education Between Religion and Politics; 2009: Eisenbichler and Terpstra, The Renaissance in the Streets, Schools and Studies; 2010: Green, Humanism and Protestantism in Early Modern English Education).

    Sixteenth Century Journal (1999: Chaney, The Evolution of the Grand Tour).

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