Archives & Library

Archive Collections

The Centre holds and provides access to archive material relating to the study of British art and architectural history. The collections contain the research papers of art historians, museum directors and curators; dealers; art critics, collectors and other individuals working in the field of art history.

Benedict Nicolson

4 boxes. This material has not yet been catalogued. Please contact Research Collections staff for more information. (Ref LBN)

Photographic portrait of Ben Nicolson sat on a wooden bench looking at the camera The archive comprises seventeen personal diaries, six folders of correspondence and a small amount of reference and research material. Thirteen of the seventeen diaries date from 1933-1939 and cover Nicolson’s formative years. They chart the period when Nicolson was studying modern history at Balliol College (1933-36); travelling extensively in Europe and the United States; studying with Bernard Berenson at the Villa I Tatti; working as an unpaid intern under Kenneth Clark at the National Gallery; and studying at Harvard University’s Fogg Museum. There is a separate diary covering his experiences during the Second World War; another covering the years immediately following his appointment at the Burlington and a final piece covering an infatuation that he had in the late 1960s. The Archive also includes correspondence from a wide range of friends and acquaintances dating from the same period. This includes, for example, letters from Isiah Berlin, Lawrence Gowing, and Lucien Pissarro.

Lionel Benedict Nicolson (1914–1978) was a British art historian and author. He was the elder son of authors Harold Nicolson and Vita Sackville-West. He was Deputy Surveyor of the King’s Pictures (1939-1947), serving in British Army Intelligence for the duration of the Second World War. He was editor of the Burlington Magazine (1947-1978).