The Walpole Society is delighted to announce an agreement with the Berger Collection Educational Trust (BCET) to run the leading book prize for art history, the Berger Prize.
The Berger Prize celebrates brilliant writing and scholarship about the arts and architecture of the United Kingdom. The Walpole Society, which promotes the study of Britain's art history, will deliver the Berger Prize from 2024, working alongside the BCET and Denver Art Museum, home of the Berger Collection of British art.
The Walpole Society was appointed following the retirement of Robin Simon, co-founder and organiser of the prize since 2001. Chair of BCET trustees, Katherine MB Berger, and Dr Jonny Yarker, incoming chair of judges, paid tribute to Robin Simon at the 2023 Prize ceremony.
Several initiatives starting in 2024 will build on the Prize's two decades of support for British art history, further broadening its reach:
A new website to showcase the prize.
The prize's eligibility and rules, with a renewed commitment to governance and transparency, will be updated. Nominations for the 2024 prize close on 28 March.
The incumbent prizewinner will deliver a lecture at the Denver Art Museum, home of the Berger Collection. The 2024 lecture by Tim Clayton is on 7 May.
A summer event in London will announce the long list. In 2024 this will be on 28 June, when Tim Clayton will talk about his 2023 Berger Prizewinning book, James Gillray: A Revolution in Satire.
New from 2024, each shortlisted book will receive a prize of £500. The 2024 shortlist will be announced at a virtual event on 15 September.
The first prize of £5000 is the largest sum offered by any art history book prize. The winner of the 2024 Berger Prize will be presented on 15 November, at a ceremony at London's Reform Club.
A new podcast from The Walpole Society, launching in the latter part of 2024, will showcase brilliant writing and scholarship about the arts and architecture of the United Kingdom, with a focus on Berger Prize shortlisted authors.
Walpole Society trustee, Dr Jonny Yarker, succeeds Robin Simon as chair of judges. Joining the panel in 2024 are Clare Hornsby, Chairwoman of The Walpole Society, and Angelica Daneo, Chief Curator at the Denver Art Museum. Click here for information about the 2024 prize jury.
Katherine MB Berger, Chairman of the Berger Collection Educational Trust (BCET), commented: "We are all so excited and we look forward to future vibrant initiatives - and to working together with The Walpole Society on our shared aim for promoting excellence in British art history.”
Clare Hornsby, Chairwoman of The Walpole Society, said: “We're honoured to have been chosen by the Berger Collection Educational Trust to run the Berger Prize. The Prize feels like a natural fit for the Walpole Society, whose goals are so closely aligned with it and with the BCET. We intend the Prize in this new era to reach an even wider audience - in the UK, US and internationally, whilst honouring its twenty year heritage established by Robin Simon and Katherine Berger”.
Incoming chair of Berger Prize judges, Dr Jonny Yarker, said: "British art history is extraordinary for its richness, range and creativity. I look forward to the Berger Prize both recognising the brilliance and dedication of researchers, whose books are often the summation of a life's research, and also for the Prize to offer an annual snapshot of the field of studies in all its diversity and depth."
Notes for Editors
The Walpole Society is an educational charity founded in 1911 to promote the study of Britain's art history. It has 400 members who are university and museum libraries, art historians, curators, students, art market professionals and art lovers. The Society publishes an annual volume of research which has become indispensable to the study of British art. The volume is funded by its members, who pay from £45 a year in return for online access to more than a century of the Society's research. The Society's individual membership has grown by 30% over the past year. For more information, visit www.walpolesociety.org.uk .
The Berger Collection Educational Trust (BCET) sponsors educational activities related to the Berger Collection and to historic British art. It was established by Denver-born financier and art collector William Merriam Bart Berger (1925-99) who, with his wife Bernadette Joan Johnson Berger (1940-2015), was passionate about art's potential to educate and enrich the lives of both young and old. By making their collection of British paintings accessible, the Bergers hoped to foster a deeper understanding of art and history. The Berger Collection has been administered by the Denver Art Museum since 1996 and when the BCET donated the collection to Denver in 2018 it became the museum's largest gift of European old masters since receiving the Kress Collection in the 1950s. For more information, visit https://www.denverartmuseum.org/en/berger-collection .
The Berger Prize was established in 2001 by the Berger Collection Educational Trust (BCET) and Robin Simon, founder and editor of the British Art Journal. During their two decades under Robin Simon's stewardship, the Prize's judges have assessed over 550 publications and awarded well over £100,000 in prizes, consistently championing academic brilliance, methodological innovation, good writing and beautiful book design.
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