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Edward Chaney

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Nationality  British
Spouse(s)  Lisa Chaney
Occupation  University Professor
Edward Chaney casiadsolentacukSiteElementsImagesstafflgc
Born  1951Hillingdon, Middlesex
Title  Professor of Fine and Decorative Arts, Southampton Solent University
Board member of  Governor of University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust
Children  Jessica Chaney, Olivia Chaney
Alma maters  Warburg Institute, University of London
Institution  Southampton Solent University
Books  The Evolution of the Gra, The Jacobean Grand To, Florence: Visions of a City, Genius Friend: GB Edw, Evolution of the Grand To

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Edward Chaney PhD FSA FRHistS (born 1951) is a British cultural historian. He is currently Professor of Fine and Decorative Arts at Southampton Solent University. He is an authority on the evolution of the Grand Tour, Anglo-Italian cultural relations, the history of collecting, Inigo Jones and the legacy of ancient Egypt. He also publishes on aspects of 20th-century British art. In 2003, he was made a Commendatore of the Italian Republic. He is the biographer of Gerald Basil Edwards, author of The Book of Ebenezer Le Page which he succeeded in publishing following the author’s death in 1976. This has since been recognised as a twentieth-century classic.


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He was educated at Leighton Park School, Reading, Ealing School of Art and subsequently gained a first class degree in History of Art at Reading University. He completed an MPhil and PhD at the Warburg Institute, University of London. He also has a Laurea from the University of Pisa. He married biographer Lisa Chaney (née Jacka) in Paris, 1973, and has two daughters, Jessica Chaney, former Art Director of Apollo magazine, and singer-songwriter Olivia Chaney. Marriage dissolved 2003.


From 1978 to 1985 he lived in Florence where he was a 'Ricercatore' at the European University Institute, adjunct assistant professor at Georgetown University's Villa Le Balze, an Associate of Harvard University's Villa I Tatti and taught at the University of Pisa. From 1985 to 1990 he was the Shuffrey Research Fellow in Architectural History at Lincoln College, Oxford. He subsequently worked for English Heritage as historian to the London region and lectured in the History of Art at Oxford Brookes University. In 1997 was appointed Professor Fine and Decorative Arts at the Southampton Institute, now Southampton Solent University, where he established the History of Collecting Research Centre. In 2014 he was appointed Visiting Professor of Art History at the New College of the Humanities and January–March 2015 Fernand Braudel Senior Fellow at the European University Institute, Florence.

He was co-founder and editor of Journal of Anglo-Italian Studies, and has served on the Executive Committee of the British-Italian Society, the International Association of Art Critics (AICA) and the Catholic Record Society.

He currently serves on the Editorial Boards of:

  • The Journal of the Wyndham Lewis Studies.
  • The British Art Journal.
  • The Court Historian.
  • In 2016 he was appointed Governor of University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust.

    Extracts from Book Reviews

    For The Grand Tour and the Great Rebellion:

    For the Early Modern period, Edward Chaney's path-breaking 'The Grand Tour and the Great Rebellion' on English royalists ... underlines the dynamics of exile and the varied forms of interaction between exiles and their host societies.
    Philip Mansel & Torsten Riotte, Monarchy and Exile: The Politics of Legitimacy from Marie de Médicis to Wilhelm II (Palgrave Macmillan, 20011)

    For The Evolution of the Grand Tour:

    No one interested in the impact of Italy on English civilisation from the Middle Ages onwards will read this remarkable book without finding out something he did not know and experiencing the thrill of a connection he has not seen. Professor Chaney’s range is as wide and refreshing as his learning is exact. He uses his eyes and his judgement is never indecisive.
    Richard Ollard

    This is a brilliant, original and refreshing account, teeming with new and fascinating material.
    Professor J. B. Trapp (Professor Emeritus, History of the Classical Tradition, University of London)

    Original and scholarly essays on a fascinating subject: the transformation of our art and life through a continuing stream of English travellers to Italy. Scholars, artists, architects, poets, collectors, ideological exiles, are all here: first a trickle, soon to be thinned by religious differences, finally expanding into the flood of the institutionalised eighteenth-century Grand Tour. Four centuries of cultural transfusion. A wonderful subject and a remarkable book.
    Lord Dacre of Glanton (Hugh Trevor-Roper)

    We tend to think of the Grand Tour as the province of Georgian lords and gentlemen living in a golden age of light and proportion and good taste. The reality began much earlier, lasted longer and was neither so tidy nor so predictable. Professor Chaney's constant endeavour - and success - in expanding the boundaries and exploring the diversity of the concept stimulates us all to a new appreciation of the enormous indebtedness of our island culture to Renaissance Italy, and of the manifold ways in which the transalpine lands remain our spiritual home.
    Kerry Downes (Emeritus Professor of History of Art, University of Reading).

    … I fell for its irresistible enthusiasm. Chaney has a profound scholarly knowledge of the Anglo-Italian historical relationships, but he is also a writer full of surprise and discursive curiosity … a most beguiling delight.
    Jan Morris' 'Book of the Year', The Independent.

    Edward Chaney’s fascinating book illuminates the magnetic attractions of Italy … a work of meticulous scholarship about the origins and evolution of the Grand Tour
    John Mortimer, The Sunday Times.

    [written with] verve and precision and tremendous authority … this book, richly illustrated and handsomely produced, will become an indispensable work for cultural historians, Italophiles and all latter-day Grand Tourists.
    Noel Malcolm, The Sunday Telegraph

    this collection of 14 brilliant essays provides us with much new material and many new insights.
    David Watkin, Country Life.

    Chaney is a scholarly and learned writer and he shed light on a wide range of topics. A wealth of humane learning … characterises this attractive volume.
    Sir Keith Thomas, Apollo: International Magazine of the Arts.

    This bran-tub of Anglo-Italian delights sustained by seriousness and enthusiasm in equal measure.
    Jonathan Keates, Literary Review.

    To those who know, even in part, their sources in the continuing unravelling of the Grand Tour, this book is an indispensable, a quite golden, addition … Professor Chaney holds us all in his debt in this collection of occasional essays touching on subjects and connection that, quite simply, have not occurred to others less erudite than himself … the style is of a 'plein air' ease such that one might be listening to a soliloquy in the gardens of Villa Lante … taken as a whole it could not be bettered.
    Patrick Reyntiens, The Tablet.

    For The Evolution of English Collecting:

    [This book] will be indispensable to anyone with an interest in the development of the cultural history of England in the 17th century. That it is also stimulating, informative and very readable are the book’s incidental merits.
    Thomas Tuohy, The British Art Journal, V:1, Spring/Summer 2004

    For The Jacobean Grand Tour:

    This book’s 107 black-and-white illustrations and photographs and 11 colour plates are a tremendous boon; ... But the real skill on show here is Edward Chaney and Timothy Wilks’ recreation of the social and artistic milieu for this originary moment of one of the most important cultural practices to shape elite young Englishmen for more than 300 years.
    Claire Jowitt, Times Higher Education Supplement, 20 March 2014

    A timely, original and superbly illustrated demonstration of the European character of English culture.
    Philip Mansel

    An excellent study of seventeenth century travel by the leading specialists in the field.
    Jeremy Black

    A lucid, entertaining and deeply learned account which brilliantly reconstructs the intellectual stimulus and daily realities of cultural travel in early seventeenth-century Europe.
    Gordon Higgott

    This is a major contribution to British collecting studies, capturing that magical morning of the Jacobean Grand Tour when everything was new and exotic
    James Stourton

    ...enterprising... packed with suggestive detail... sumptuously and tellingly illustrated.
    Blair Worden, The Spectator

    This fascinating study charts the diplomatic and cultural shifts that made travel to Europe both possible and appealing in the Jacobean age.
    Apollo Magazine

    Well researched... lavishly illustrated... a dozen colour plates and more than 100 black-and-white drawings and photographs make the reader feel they have been on a grand tour themselves.
    John Ure, Country Life

    For Genius Friend: G.B. Edwards and The Book of Ebenezer Le Page:

    ‘This is a remarkable book which sets out to show us that the half-forgotten Gerald Edwards, author of a single magnum opus, should (like Lampedusa) be acknowledged as one of the great novelists of the twentieth century. Writing with skill and conviction, calling on some impressive witnesses (in particular John Stewart Collis) to give evidence, Chaney makes a powerful case that will surprise and impress readers to-day.’
    Sir Michael Holroyd

    ‘No one is better fitted than Edward Chaney to write this book. It is a seminal study of a great, but neglected writer, and it places G.B. Edwards in his proper historical, literary and philosophical context for the first time.’
    Peter Goodall

    ‘G.B. Edwards was a cryptic and mystifying man, a writer with rare and sometimes perverse gifts, whose character mixed elements of the rascal and of the recluse, who yet produced one astounding classic, The Book of Ebenezer Le Page. In his last years he gave his trust and affection to Edward Chaney, whose matchless enthusiasm, perseverance and insight make him the best possible biographer of this puzzling misfit Guernseyman.’
    Richard Davenport-Hines

    ’A consistently fascinating attempt to chart the life of a geniune literary outsider.’
    D.J. Taylor, 'Patches, tricks and wickedness', Times Literary Supplement, 9 September 2016

    ‘… the author’s researches and his personal knowledge of Edwards do bring this strange and wayward man to life..’
    William Palmer, 'Guernsey's Finest', Literary Review, August 2016


  • Broadcast appearances on BBC Radio 4 programmes: Start the Week, Woman's Hour, Science Now and In Our Time ('The Grand Tour' - 30 May 2002),
  • He has acted as consultant for programmes on the Grand Tour by Brian Sewell and Kevin McCloud (Channel 4) and 'Great British Art Collectors - Lady Helen Rosslyn' on BBC4 (2012–13).
  • He has contributed articles to: Apollo, The Burlington Magazine, Country Life, The Daily Telegraph, The English Historical Review, History Today, The Independent, Literary Review, The Milton Quarterly, Modern Painters, The Salisbury Review, The Spectator, Times Higher Education, The Times Literary Supplement, The Victorian.
  • Awards

  • Leverhulme European Studentship. 1978-9.
  • Huntington Library Research Fellowship (British Academy travel funded). 1995.
  • Mellon British School at Rome Award. 2006.
  • Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship: 2010–2012. 'Polytheism and its Discontents: Cultural Memories of Egypt in England.'.
  • British Council: travel expenses to International Travel and Illustration conference (keynote speaker), Bangalore, India, November 2014.
  • Fernand Braudel Senior Research Fellowship; European University Institute, Florence; January–March 2015.
  • References

    Edward Chaney Wikipedia