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Dodgson, Campbell

    Image Credit: Wikipedia

    Full Name: Dodgson, Campbell

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 1867

    Date Died: 1948

    Place Born: Crayford, Kent, England, UK

    Place Died: London, Greater London, England, UK

    Home Country/ies: United Kingdom

    Subject Area(s): drawings (visual works), Flemish (culture or style), German (culture, style, period), Northern Renaissance, and prints (visual works)


    Historian of German and Flemish drawings, Keeper of the Department of Prints and Drawings, British Museum. Dodgson came from a middle-class investment family, distantly related to Lewis Carroll (née Charles Lutwidge Dodgson). He attended Winchester and then New College, Oxford, where he read in Classics and Theology. His intention to be ordained changed after college (perhaps because of his realization of latent homosexuality). Dodgson assisted Oscar Wilde’s friend Lord Alfred Douglas at Oxford, spending a well-documented weekend with Wild and Douglas at Babbacombe near Torquay. He joined the British Museum in 1893 in the Department of Prints and Drawings under Sidney Colvin. He hired Oxford poet Laurence Binyon as an assistant Keeper in 1895. In 1898 he co-founded the publications of the Dürer Society (lasting until 1911) with Montagu Peartree. He translated many of the immensely popular Künstler-Monographien series of Velhagen & Klasing publisher into English, especially those of Hermann Joseph Wilhelm Knackfuss. In 1903 and 1911, the two volumes of his catalog of the Flemish and German woodcuts of the British Museum were published. This achieved him international recognition as an authority of those areas. Other volumes in this series were written under the emerging scholars of the department, including the young Arthur Mayger Hind. In 1912 Dodgson succeeded Colvin as Keeper. In 1913 he married Catharine Spooner, daughter of the Reverend W. A. Spooner, Warden of New College. Dodgson edited the Print Collectors Newsletter for and frequently contributed articles to the Burlington Magazine. During World War I, he was a German translator for the British government running the Department largely by himself because of the lack of labor the war had caused. In 1929, Dodgson’s niece married the art historian Jim Shaw. Shaw and Dodgson became close, despite a subsequent divorce by Shaw. Binyon succeeded Dodgson as Keeper in 1932 for one year before his own retirement. Throughout his life, Dodgson collected prints and, being heirless, did so with the understanding they would go to the Department of Prints and Drawings. He also was instrumental in donating £32000, a large sum of money at the time, to assist in the purchase of the magnificent Dürer drawing of a Tirolean womanPeter Roth describes Dodgson as being one of the first in England to apply the rigorous techniques of German art history. Dodgson carefully described and analyzed prints. His interests were primarily northern renaissance prints and drawings.

    Selected Bibliography

    [complete bibliography:] Schilling, E. “Campbell Dodgson.” The Burlington Magazine 90 (October 1948): 293-4; Catalogue of early German and Flemish woodcuts preserved in the Department of Prints and Drawings in the British Museum. London: The Trustees of the British Museum, 1903 ff.


    Panofsky, Erwin. “The History of Art.” In The Cultural Migration: The European Scholar in America. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1953, mentioned, p. 85; Erwin Panofsky. “Wilhelm Vöge: A Biographical Memoir.” Art Journal 28 no. 1 (Fall 1968): 27, mentioned; Roth, Peter. “Campbell Dodgson” Print Review 4: 34; [obituaries:] “Dr. Campbell Dodgson, Prints And Drawings.” The Times [London]. July 14, 1948, p. 7; Schilling, E. “Campbell Dodgson.” The Burlington Magazine 90 (October 1948): 293-4.


    Contributors: Emily Crockett and Lee Sorensen


    Emily Crockett and Lee Sorensen. "Dodgson, Campbell." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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