Deanna Petherbridge (1939–2024)

by Sarah Victoria Turner

  • 12 February 2024

We are extremely saddened to hear about the death of the artist, curator and writer Deanna Petherbridge (1939, South Africa – 2024, UK). Deanna made a great impact on us through the recent acquisition of her archive and fifty books from her library. With fierce intelligence and a great deal of wit, she personally oversaw this donation, working closely with our Archivist and Librarian on the selection of material to donate. Deanna’s career was extraordinary for its range, and she saw important intersections between the different strands of her work. She is perhaps best known for her attention to the medium of drawing. Two significant manifestations of this are her landmark publication The Primacy of Drawing (Yale University Press, 2010) and her role as Professor of Drawing at the Royal College of Art (1995 – 2001). Conversations with Deanna also helped us reshape the parameters of our archive collection policy and we have published more about these decisions here. Most recently she had held an honorary fellowship at the Warburg Institute. We are grateful for Deanna’s expansive and brave thinking about the histories of art and how her own journeys across the globe – as artist, teacher and scholar – leaves a legacy in our collection for the studies of British art.

An obituary was published in the Guardian.

About the author

  • Sarah Victoria Turner - Director at the Paul Mellon Centre