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Alexander Sturgis

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Christopher Brown

Art Historian

Alexander Sturgis

Years active
1991 - present

Alexander Sturgis wwwbrutonartsocietycoukwpcontentuploads2014

Other names
Xa Sturgis The Great Xa

Curator Museum director

National Gallery Holburne Museum Ashmolean Museum

Director of the Ashmolean Museum

Alma mater
University College, Oxford, Courtauld Institute of Art

Dan's Angel, Rebels and Martyrs, Presence: The Art of Portrait S, Optical Illusions in Art, Introducing Rembrandt

Interview with Dr Alexander Sturgis

Alexander John Sturgis (born 6 November 1963) is a British art historian and museum curator. He is the current Director of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. He was Director of the Holburne Museum in Bath from 2005 to September 2014.


Early life

Sturgis was born on 6 November 1963 in London, England. He was educated at Marlborough College, an independent school in Marlborough, Wiltshire. He studied history at University College, University of Oxford from 1982 to 1985. He graduated Bachelor of Arts (BA), which was later promoted to Master of Arts (MA). He then undertook post-graduate study in art history at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London. He completed his Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in 1990.


Sturgis worked at the National Gallery, an art museum in London, from 1991 to 2005. Beginning his career in the education department, he later served as exhibitions and programmes curator for six years, from 1999 to 2005. In 2005, he was appointed Director of the Holburne Museum in Bath. During his time at Holburne, he oversaw a renovation of the museum that included a £13 million extension.

He moved to the City of Oxford for the beginning of the 2014/15 academic year to take up the appointment of Director of the University of Oxford's Ashmolean Museum on 1 October 2014. He is also a Supernumerary Fellow of Worcester College, Oxford.

His publications include Rebels and Martyrs: The Image of the Artist in the Nineteenth Century (2006) and Presence: Sculpture and the Portrait (2012).

Personal life

In his spare time, Sturgis is a magician under the name The Great Xa.

Selected works

  • Sturgis, Alexander (1994). Magic in art: tricks, perspective, illusions. London: Belitha Press. ISBN 978-1855613577. 
  • Sturgis, Alexander (1998). Faces. London: National Gallery Publications. ISBN 978-1857092226. 
  • Sturgis, Alexander (2000). Telling time. London: National Gallery Company. ISBN 978-1857099058. 
  • Sturgis, Alexander; Child, Lauren (2003). Dan's angel: a detective's guide to the language of painting. London: Frances Lincoln. ISBN 978-0711218857. 
  • Sturgis, Alexander; Christiansen, Rupert; Oliver, Lois; Wilson, Michael (2006). Rebels and martyrs: the image of the artist in the nineteenth century. London: National Gallery Company. ISBN 978-1857093469. 
  • Sturgis, Alexander (2009). Faces (2nd ed.). London: National Gallery Company. ISBN 978-1857094640. 
  • Sturgis, Alexander (2012). Presence: the art of portrait sculpture. Suffolk: Antique Collectors Club. ISBN 978-1851496853. 
  • Vestey, Joanna; Sturgis, Alexander; Roberts, Russell (2015). Custodians. Oxford: Ashmolean Museum Publications. ISBN 978-1854442970. 
  • References

    Alexander Sturgis Wikipedia

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