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Joll, Evelyn Louis

    Image Credit: National Portrait Gallery

    Full Name: Joll, Evelyn Louis

    Other Names:

    • Dowrish Evelyn Louis Joll

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 1925

    Date Died: 2001

    Place Born: London, Greater London, England, UK

    Place Died: London, Greater London, England, UK

    Home Country/ies: United Kingdom


    Turner scholar and gallery director. Joll was the son of Cecil Augustus Joll (1886-1945), senior surgeon at the Royal Free Hospital, and Laura Meriel Winsloe (Joll) (d. 1931). Joll graduated from Eton College in 1938 where his teachers included Geoffrey Agnew (1908-1986). In 1943 Joll served with the British army (60th rifle unit) rising to the rank of second lieutenant in 1944, finishing out his posting in Greece in 1945. A 1946 offer at Magdalen College, Oxford to study history allowed him an early discharge. At Oxford he studied under the historians A. J. P. Taylor (1906-1990) and A. Raymond Carr (b. 1919). Joll graduated in 1949 and married Pamela Sybil Kingzett (b. 1925), the niece of Colin Agnew (1882-1975), a director of the proprietary art gallery Thos. Agnew & Sons. Joll joined Agnews the same year, remaining there his entire career. He become a director of Agnews in 1955. Joll was in charge of the annual watercolor exhibition at Agnews which brought him into contact with the works on paper of J. M. W. Turner. Agnews mounted important Turner exhibitions under Joll in 1951, 1967, and 1979. In 1962 Joll and Martin Butlin, assistant keeper of the Tate Gallery, began work on a catalogue raisonné of Turner’s paintings. Butlin wrote on the pictures of the Turner bequest (then in the Tate and National galleries and the British Museum), and Joll on the paintings dispersed by Turner during his lifetime. The Turner bicentenary exhibition at the Royal Academy of 1974-5 at the Burlington House revitalized international interest in the artist. In 1977 Joll and Butlin’s The Paintings of J. M. W. Turner appeared. Joll succeeded Geoffrey Agnew, who had initially recommended him in 1949, as chairman of Agnews in 1982. Bultin and Joll continued to advise on the Turner exhibitions, including Paris (Grand Palais, 1983-4) and Tokyo and Kyoto in 1986. Joll retired as a director of Agnews in 1994. In 1996 he helped organized the large Turner exhibition in Canberra and Melbourne, Australia. In 2001 he, Butlin and Luke Herrmann edited The Oxford Companion to J. M. W. Turner. His manuscript for the watercolor and drawing collection of the Cecil Higgins Museum, Bedford, UK, was completed shortly before his death of a pulmonary embolism. He was cremated and his ashes scattered at sea off the Yar estuary, Isle of Wight, where he had a summer home. Joll’s catalog of the works of Turner remains the exhaustive work on the artist, rescuing an artist who had fallen into an uneven reputation (Clive Bell had referred to Turner as “that old vulgarian”). Joll’s principal interest was establishing a list of the authentic Turners. Joll’s 210 works were scattered throughout the world (Butlin’s 318 were entirely in England). The catalog won critical acclaim. In 1978 it was awarded the first Mitchell prize for art history.

    Selected Bibliography

    and Butlin, Martin. The paintings of J. M. W. Turner. 2 vols. New Haven: Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art/Tate Gallery/Yale University Press, 1977; Cecil Higgins Art Gallery: Watercolours and Drawings. Bedford, UK: Cecil Higgins Art Gallery, 2002; and Lord, Michael. Turner [exhibition catalog] Canberra, ACT: National Gallery of Australia/Thames and Hudson, 1996.


    Plomer, William G. “Joll, (Dowrish) Evelyn Louis, 1925-2001.” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography; [obituaries:] Millar, Oliver. “Evelyn Joll.” The Independent (London) April 2, 2001, p. 6; Egerton, Judy. “Evelyn Joll: Art Dealer and Eminent Scholar of the Paintings of Turner.” The Guardian (London), April 11, 2001, p. 20.


    "Joll, Evelyn Louis." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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