University of Manchester, Department of Art History & Archaeology Archive

Scope and Content

The archive of the Department of Art History and Archaeology. The archive is small and incomplete. It includes: minutes of the departmental board (DAH/1) which provide information on departmental organization, teaching, research and curriculum matters. There are also minutes of the Research and Postgraduate, Programmes, Staff-Student committees and of the Examiners' meetings [closed]. There is a small body of material concerning teaching arrangements in the Department (DAH/6) and a catalogue of art exhibitions held by the Department (DAH/7/1).

Administrative / Biographical History

Art history has been taught at the University of Manchester since the 1930s. Initially, the subject was taught as a component of other degree courses. The first academic appointment was made in 1933 when was R H Wilenski (1887-1975) was appointed special lecturer in the history of art.

Wilenski resigned his post in 1946, and was succeeded by Lawrence Haward (1878-1957), a former director of Manchester City Art Gallery, during the session 1946/7. He was followed by Ellis Kirkham Waterhouse (1905-1985), appointed reader in the history of art in 1947/8. After Waterhouse's resignation, there was a brief hiatus until A C Sewter (1912-1983) was appointed senior lecturer in 1949. The increasing significance of the department was reflected in the endowment of a chair in the history of art by Dorothy and Margaret Pilkington in 1956. This was followed by the University's assumption of control of the Whitworth Art Gallery in 1958. In 1959, John White (b.1924) was appointed to the Pilkington chair in 1959 (held concurrently with the directorship of the Whitworth Art Gallery; an arrangement which lasted into the 1980s). In 1966 White was succeeded by the eminent medievalist Reginald Dodwell (1922-1994), who remained in post until his retirement in 1989. Marcia Pointon was appointed to the Pilkington chair in 1991, and she in turn was succeeded by Amelia Jones in 2003.

The Department, which was part of the Faculty of Arts, expanded significantly in the latter decades of the twentieth century. It contributed to teaching a range of undergraduate degrees, including joint degrees with modern languages, as well as single honours history of art, and later a history of modern art degree. In the 1990s, a new degree of cultural heritage (heritage studies) was introduced, following the merger with archaeology. A range of postgraduate degrees was also offered, including a diploma in art gallery and museum studies (which later became a masters degree). In 1996, the Departments of Art History and Archaeology merged; in 1999 the Department was renamed the School of Art History and Archaeology. With the creation of the new University in 2004, the Department became part of the School of Arts, Histories and Cultures within the Faculty of Humanities.


Archive arranged in series:

  • DAH/1 - Departmental/School Board minutes
  • DAH/2 - Research and Postgraduate Committee minutes
  • DAH/3 - Programme Committees minutes
  • DAH/4 - Staff-Student Liaison Committee minutes
  • DAH/5 - Examiners meeting minutes
  • DAH/6 - Papers re. teaching arrangements
  • DAH/7 - Miscellaneous

Access Information

Access conditions apply to this collection; some material closed to public inspection.

The open part of the collection may contain personal data about living individuals, and readers are expected to comply with the Data Protection Act 1998 in their use of the material. Under Section 33 of the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), The John Rylands University Library (JRUL) holds the right to process such personal data for research purposes. The Data Protection (Processing of Sensitive Personal Data) Order 2000 enables the JRUL to process sensitive personal data for research purposes. In accordance with the DPA, the JRUL has made every attempt to ensure that all personal and sensitive personal data has been processed fairly, lawfully and accurately.

Acquisition Information

Transferred by the Department of Art History and Archaeology in 2006.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies and photographic copies of material in the archive can be supplied for private study purposes only, depending on the condition of the documents.

A number of items within the archive remain within copyright under the terms of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988; it is the responsibility of users to obtain the copyright holder's permission for reproduction of copyright material for purposes other than research or private study.

Prior written permission must be obtained from the Library for publication or reproduction of any material within the archive. Please contact the Head of Special Collections, John Rylands University Library, 150 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 3EH.

Appraisal Information

Collection has been appraised.


Further accruals expected.

Related Material

See also the Vice-Chancellor's files on the department which cover the period 1933-1980, VCA/7/18, VCA/7/438, VCA/7/632, and VCA/7/532 (White) and VCA/7/533 (Dodwell) for chair appointments (access conditions apply). Departmental annual reports can be found in Reports of Council to Court UOP/2. The Faculty of Arts archive (FAR) will include information on aspects of admissions, curriculum and examinations relating to the Department.

JRUL also holds the papers of several departmental members: R H Wilenski, Marcia Pointon and Christa Grossinger [uncatalogued].