Art historian John Bury dies

John Bernard Bury (1917-2017)
John Bernard Bury (1917-2017)

Pioneering art historian John Bernard Bury (born 1917) passed away on 18th January 2017, at Wimbledon, aged 99. John studied at Balliol College, Oxford, where he read modern history (1935-38).

After retiring from a career with Shell Petroleum he became a prolific author of works on the art and architecture of the Iberian world and Italy, and a well-known book collector.

In 2005, John donated a very fine collection of printed books on Renaissance architecture, the Grand Tour of Italy and France, travels to the Holy Land, and Emblems to King’s College Library. These are beautifully illustrated and valuable rare books by authors such as Virtruvius, Palladio, Scamozzi, and Serlio. The collection was given in memory of his family’s long connection with King’s: his grandfather was the great historian of Greece, John Bagnell Bury (1861-1927), a Fellow of King’s, and both his sons studied at King’s. The collection consists of nearly 1,000 volumes and is international in scope, encompassing books in Latin, Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, English and German. The majority of the collection dates from the 16th-18th centuries, but it also includes one incunable and a good range of 20th-century literature. Highlights also include sixteenth- and seventeenth-century engravings of buildings and antiquities in Italy and Spain, along with maps.

The College Library intends to mount an exhibition of some of the books from the collection in the near future.

21 February 2017