Professor Phillip Lindley

Richard Deacon and Phillip Lindley installing the exhibition This is Where Ideas Come From at Wolfson College, Cambridge in 2015.

Professor of Art History


Contact details

Tel: 0116 252 2840


Office: Attenborough 1610




Personal details

My academic training was at the University of Cambridge. I graduated with a first in History of Art in 1980 and stayed on to read my PhD at Downing College, where I was awarded a Bye Fellowship for outstanding doctoral research. In 1985-8 I was a Research Fellow at St. Catharine's College and after a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship at the CMS, University of York, I came to Leicester in 1991 and was Head of Department from 1998 to 2003, during which time I introduced the study of Film. In 2004, I founded the Centre for the Study of the Country House and designed and led the MA programme for eight years. In 1992 I was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 2002.



HA 7010 The Country House in Art, History and literature

HA 7020 Research Skills

HA 7000 Dissertation


HA 3426 British Gothic Sculpture

HA 3401 Dissertation

HA 2219 Documents

HA 2218 Modernity and Tradition

HA 1112 Introduction to the History of Art

HA 1120 Words and Pictures

Current research projects

Richard Deacon Installation, Image and Idol, Tate Britain
Installation photograph 2001: Image and Idol, at Tate Britain.

My current research is focused in five related areas:

1. Tudor monumental sculpture, most recently the monuments at Framlingham, Suffolk, commemorating the Howard Dukes of Norfolk and their family. The project, 'Representing Re-Formation: Reconstructing Renaissance Monuments’, was an innovative multi-disciplinary venture, with researchers at Leicester's Space Research Centre, and in Museum Studies and Computer Science, at Merton College, Oxford and the Yale Center for British Art (Yale University), working together with English Heritage and NMAS. We employed 3D scanning and virtual disassembly and reconstruction to reconstruct the originally intended forms and meanings of the monuments. Our work has been featured on BBC Television and Radio. We organised two symposia, in Leicester and Cambridge, and designed an app on Thetford Priory in connection with it. I have lectured widely on the project in the UK, France, Italy and the USA. It was made possible by a half million pound grant from the Science and Heritage Programme (AHRC and EPSRC), with three PhD studentships attached to it and ran from 2010 to 2013. In 2013-14, I curated Thetford's Lost Tudor Sculptures, a small show in the authentically Tudor setting of Thetford's Ancient House Museum. Here, the installation, co-organised with my colleague Dr Ross Parry, the designer Ian Drake and Oliver Bone and his staff at the museum, employed 3D scans and prints and a video by the artist Andrew Williams, combining them with sculpted fragments in an intense, didactic show exploring notions of authenticity and agency. The first book from the project, The Tudors and the Howards: Studies in Science and Heritage appeared in October 2015, published by Shaun Tyas:  ISBN-10: 1907730443.

2. New paradigms for exhibition curation. I worked with Richard Deacon, Britain's greatest contemporary abstract sculptor, co-curating Image & Idol: Medieval Sculpture with him at Tate Britain in 2001-2. This innovative and controversial exhibition on Iconoclasm was itself iconoclastic, offering an entirely new approach to exhibition installation, critiquing the 'celebratory curatorship' and sub-modernist displays of many intellectually moribund 'blockbuster' shows. The controversy round Deacon's exhibition installations still resonates internationally and is the subject of my paper in Wolfgang Brückle, Pierre Alain Mariaux and Daniela Mondini (eds), Musealisierung Mittelalterlicher Kunst, Deutscher Kunstverlag, Munich 2015. I curated another exhibition with him, Richard Deacon: This Is Where Ideas Come From, in Wolfson College, Cambridge, in 2015. It featured Deacon’s models for large-scale sculpture, none of which had ever been exhibited before, and investigated the process of fabricating sculpture.  In May 2017 an exhibition curated by Dr Meredith Hale, Eileen Cooper: a Woman’s Skin, opens at Wolfson. I have contributed an essay to the eponymous catalogue.

Dr Lindley guiding visitors to  'Thetford's Lost Tudor Sculptures' exhibition in 2013.
Professor Lindley guiding visitors to 'Thetford's Lost Tudor Sculptures' exhibition in 2013.

3. Historicism and the recuperation of the British past, in the past. This was the subject of my last monograph, Tomb Destruction and Scholarship which I wrote during a Leverhulme Trust award in 2007. A visiting Scholarship at the Yale Center for British Art, Yale University, in 2009 enabled me to study the Regency draughtsman Charles Alfred Stothard, on whose work I recently published papers in British and US journals. I have given invited lectures on historicism in the UK, Italy and USA.

4. Eighteenth- and nineteenth-century monumental sculpture. Recent work on the monuments at Warkton of Peter van Gelder and of L.F. Roubiliac, the greatest sculptor to work in eighteenth-century England, helped underwrite a successful bid for a major Heritage Lottery Fund award for their conservation. I co-organised a symposium on Roubiliac and the ducal monuments of the Montagus at Boughton House and have delivered plenary lectures on monumental sculpture in the UK, Europe and USA. At Prof Nash's invitation, I recently delivered a plenary lecture at the Courtauld Institute, 'Taking Leave of Panofsky,' commemorating the 50th anniversary of the publication of Erwin Panofsky's Tomb Sculpture in 1964.

5. The application of new technology in collaborative multi-disciplinary projects. I have recently collaborated with Enigma Interactive on the virtual recreation of the formal gardens of Boughton House, and with Europac 3D on the sculptural programme of the fifteenth-century Warwick Chantry Chapel in Tewkesbury Abbey.

I have substantial experience of heading collaborative teams and have organised several international conferences and edited or co-edited eleven books, the most recent of which appeared in May 2016. I was the principal supervisor for an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award with the Lamport Hall Preservation Trust, with Prof. Rosemary Sweet as co-supervisor. Dr Megan Leyland has just been awarded her doctorate on 'Gender Patronage and Architecture in the Nineteenth-Century Country House'. My PhD students have included Dutch, German, Swedish and American citizens as well as British ones. So far, eleven have been awarded their doctorates; two their research MPhils, and more than fifty their MAs through the Country House programme. I am generally interested in supervising PhD students in any of my areas of expertise but for UK and EU students, the competitiveness of AHRC awards means that a first class BA and a distinction in your MA are essential prerequisites if you seek state funding.

Learn more about research degrees in the Department of the History of Art & Film

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History of Art and Film,
University of Leicester
University Road
Leicester LE1 7RH

Telephone: 0116 252 2620

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The History of Art and Film at Leicester are seeking expressions of interest from prospective research students in the 2017 AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership. The deadline for AHRC funding applications will be in January 2017 and your case will be strongly enhanced if you engage in discussion with us well in advance of the deadline. For information about the Midlands 3 Cities Doctoral Training Centre and for details of eligibility, funding and research supervision areas please visit the consortium’s website, our own page or contact the PGR admissions team.