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Hinks, Roger P.

    Full Name: Hinks, Roger P.

    Other Names:

    • Roger Packman Hinks

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 1903

    Date Died: 1963

    Place Born: London, Greater London, England, UK

    Place Died: Paris, Île-de-France, France

    Home Country/ies: United Kingdom

    Subject Area(s): ancient, Ancient Greek (culture or style), Antique, the, Classical, and Roman (ancient Italian culture or period)


    Art historian and Assistant keeper of Greek and Roman Antiquities, British Museum. Hinks was the son of Arthur Robert Hinks (1873-1945), one time secretary to both the Royal Astronomical Society and the Royal Geographical Society. After attending Westminster School, Hinks graduated from Trinity College, Cambridge in 1923, where he showed a gift for languages and classical studies. He spent 1924 at the British School in Rome, where he worked with, and was deeply influenced by the classical scholar Eugénie Sellers Strong. From Strong he learned the connections of Roman history to art, relationships which had been de-emphasized by the prominent Vienna School historians (Franz Wickhoff, Josef Rudolf Thomas Strzygowski). His appreciation for other German writing evidenced itself in a translation of a travelogue by the art historian Julius Meier-Graefe. In 1926 Hinks was appointed to the British Museum as Assistant Keeper in the Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities. There he set about publishing authoritative (if austere) catalogs of the Greek coins and antique paintings and mosaics. Hinks’ museum handbook of 1935, Greek and Roman Portrait Sculpture was a highly respected work. Portraiture represented a life-long interest for him and the handbook was a blend of interpretation and iconographic analysis. Hinks followed this in 1937 with Carolingian Art, which traced the classical tradition through the art of Charlemagne, noting its absence as well as its presence. A second edition in 1962 refined some of the terms he had initially employed in the work. The same year (1937), Hink’s “Classical and Classicistic” article in Kritische Berichte appeared, affirming his presence as a medievalist. In 1939 Hinks was implicated in a disastrous “cleaning” of the Elgin (Parthenon) marbles for the new Duveen gallery. Anxious to make a positive impression to Lord Duveen (1869-1939), the benefactor of a gallery he had sponsored, the Parthenon sculptures were chiseled and scrubbed to a brilliance which removed trace surface material from the statue. News of the cleaning reached Parliament and the British press, and a scandal ensued. Hinks was formally reprimanded for dereliction of duty and demoted ten years in seniority and in salary by John Forsdyke, director. Hinks subsequently resigned. Bernard Ashmole was asked to take charge of the Greek and Roman Antiquities in an honorary capacity. Hinks was offered a position at the Warburg Institute in 1939. There he published Myth and Allegory in Ancient Art, lectures and expanded texts he delivered at the Warburg. During World War II, Hinks was assigned to the British Embassy in Stockholm. After the war, he joined the British Council and was appointed Head of the British Institute in Rome, 1945-49. There developed an appreciation for Caravaggio. Hinks followed this with a term as a British Council representative in the Netherlands, 1949-54. He lectured at the University of Utrecht replacing J. G. van Gelder during his absence. He delivered a talk on Caravaggio at the University of Durham in 1952 and a monograph appeared in 1953. Hinks was moved by the Council in Athens in 1954, but once again trouble arose. This time, the political tensions in the claim for Cyprus forced a reassignment to Paris in 1959. Hinks returned to his classical interests in France. Hinks collapsed in his Paris apartment of a cerebral hemorrhage, and died a week later without having regained consciousness. A lifelong homosexual, Hinks had a long-term relationship with a person who appears in his journals simply as “j”.

    Selected Bibliography

    and Rodenwaldt, Gerhardt, and Hege, Walter. Olympia. London: Sidgwick and Jackson, ltd., 1936; Catalogue of the Greek, Etruscan and Roman Paintings and Mosaics in the British Museum. London: British Museum, 1933; Greek and Roman Portrait-Sculpture. London: British Museum, 1935; Carolingian Art. London: Sidgwick & Jackson, 1935, 2nd ed. with new introduction, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press,1962; Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio: his Life, his Legend, his Works. London: Faber and Faber, 1953; Myth and Allegory in Ancient Art. London: The Warburg Institute, 1939; translated, Meier-Graefe, Julius. Pyramid and Temple. New York: The Macaulay Company, 1930; “Portrait of Tiberius.” The Journal of Roman Studies 23 (1933): 34-5; “History of the Portland Vase.” International Studio 93 (May 1929): 33-6.


    The Gymnasium of the Mind: the Journals of Roger Hinks, 1933-1963. John Goldsmith, ed. Salisbury, UK: Michael Russell, 1984; Jenkins, Ian. “THE 1930S CLEANING OF THE PARTHENON SCULPTURES IN THE BRITISH MUSEUM.”; [obituarires:] “Mr. Roger Hinks, Art History and the British Council.” The Times [London] June 12, 1963, p. 15; “Roger Hinks.” Burlington Magazine 105 no. 4738 (September 1964): 423-24.


    "Hinks, Roger P.." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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