Viscount Lee of Fareham’s scheme for a specialist art history institute is first mooted

 

1931

 

Samuel Courtauld’s wife Elizabeth dies. He transfers Home House, their home in Portman Square, for use by the new Institute and establishes the Home House Society in his wife’s memory.

 

October 1932             

 

The Courtauld Institute of Art opens its doors with William Constable as Director

 

December 1933         

 

Lee and Courtauld arrange for scholars attached to the Warburg Library in Hamburg to be resettled in London, due to the advent of a Nazi government in Germany; the emigrés introduce new standards of scholarship in art history

 

1934


Artist and critic Roger Fry dies leaving 20th-century works and non-Western objects to The Courtauld


1936

William Constable resigns as director over a disagreement about whether the courses should be restricted to postgraduates. He is replaced by Thomas Boase


September 1939          


World War II breaks out – works of art are evacuated to the country and only minimal teaching continues

1947                           


Anthony Blunt takes over as Director
Samuel Courtauld and Viscount Lee both die leaving significant bequests


1949                           


George Zarnecki begins work at The Courtauld, later to become Deputy Director


1952                           

Sir Robert Witt dies bequeathing his collection of approximately 3000 Old Master drawings to The Courtauld in addition to his extensive collection of prints. His celebrated photographic reference library can no longer be housed at 32 Portman Square so no. 19 is taken over for the purpose

 

1956                           

The annual summer schools begin, organised by Barbara Robertson


1958 

A large part of the collection goes on view public in a dedicated gallery space in  Woburn Square

 

1965                           

The History of Dress department is created


1966                           


The Courtauld Gallery receives a bequest of 14th- to 16th-century Italian paintings and decorative arts from Mark Gambier-Parry

 

1967                           


William Spooner leaves a collection of fine British watercolours to The Courtauld


1969                           


Another adjacent property on Portman Square is acquired to ease the Institute’s continuing accommodation problems

1974                           

Blunt retires and is replaced by Peter Lasko


1978                           


Count Antoine Seilern’s major collection of Old Master paintings and drawings is bequeathed to the Home House Society for The Courtauld Gallery

1981                           


The lease on Portman Square finally expires


1982                           

The distinguished Cork Street dealer Lillian Browse donates her private collection to The Courtauld

 

1985                           

The Department of Wall Paintings Conservation is created

Lasko retires and is replaced by Michael Kauffmann

October 1989             


The Courtauld Institute of Art moves into the Strand side of Somerset House; securing the lease requires an Act of Parliament

2001                           


The Courtauld Institute of Art is awarded a 5* grade in the Research Assessment Exercise

                                   
The exhibition Art on the Line: The Royal Academy Exhibitions at Somerset House 1780-1836, the most ambitious exhibition ever mounted by The Courtauld, is opened. It wins the William M. B. Berger prize for British Art History


August 2002                


The Courtauld becomes an independent college of the University of London

 

2003                           


James Cuno is appointed Director


2004                           


James Cuno leaves to take up the directorship of the Art Institute of Chicago and is replaced by Deborah Swallow

                                   

The Courtauld launches its online image database, www.artandarchitecture.org.uk. The digitisation of paintings, drawings, prints and photographs was supported by the New Opportunities Fund.

 

2007                           


An exceptional collection of British watercolours is received in a bequest from Dorothy Scharf who died in 2004

 

Summer 2007              


The Courtauld’s book library undergoes a full refurbishment

October 2007             


The Courtauld celebrates its 75th anniversary and launches a new MA in Curating the Art Museum

To read a full history of The Courtauld Institute of Art click here