Ref NoPMC35/2
TitleDiscontinued projects: Dictionary of British Painters
Admin/Biog HistoryPublishing academic titles was one of the Paul Mellon Foundation's most significant activities. The biggest project undertaken was a Dictionary of British Painters. When the idea was first conceived and scoped in the early 1960s the proposal was for a fifteen volume, fifty thousand entry text, which would be an addition to the 'Studies in British Art' series. Various young scholars were engaged to carry out research and work began on artists whose surnames began with letters A and B. By 1969 progess on the first volume had been considerable: a prospectus had been compiled; major researchers and contributors appointed; library surveys carried out and detailed research undertaken in specific regions of the UK. Preliminary entries for artists whose surnames began with letters A and B were submitted by contributors between 1968-1970.

By the late 1960s, however, the enormous scale of the project had become apparent. Organisational changes in the Paul Mellon Foundation - including the establishment of the Yale Center for British Art - prompted a review of the work. Following a special conference that took place on 9 December 1969, further activity on the Dictionary was suspended. The project was formally abandoned in July 1970, following the closure of the Paul Mellon Foundation and establishment of the Paul Mellon Centre for British Art.
DescriptionMaterial in this group has been organised into three series:
-proposal and planning records
-research on individual artists/entries,
-research with particular institutions

It includes committee papers, correspondence, lists of sources and artists, questionnaires, press cuttings, printed material and images, financial records, reports, draft entries for particular artists.
Extent5 boxes, 120 files
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