31 August 2018

Members of College will be saddened to hear of the death of Professor David John Watkin.The College extends sympathy to his family and friends.

Professor David John Watkin, MA, PhD, LittD, Hon. FRIBA, FSA, who has just died aged 77, began a distinguished career in the History of Art and Architecture by taking a First in the Fine Arts Tripos at Trinity Hall.  He was Librarian of the Fine Arts Faculty 1967–72; University Lecturer (1972–93) in, then Head (1989–92) of, the Department of the History of Art; Reader in the History of Architecture (1993–2001); and Professor of the History of Architecture (2001–08, thereafter Emeritus).  His long association with Peterhouse began with his election to a Fellowship in 1970. He directed studies and supervised in the History of Art Tripos for Peterhouse and for several other colleges; and he was for many years our Steward.  He is remembered for the loyalty that he inspired in his pupils and for the genuine concern that he demonstrated for the welfare of the College staff in his charge, to whom he was always courteous and polite.  He retired when senior Fellow in 2008 and was thereafter elected to an Emeritus Fellowship of the College. He was also active outside the University, notably as a member of the Historic Buildings Council for England and of the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England 1980–95.

His publications in the field of architectural history were extensive and some were translated into several foreign languages. Among his many celebrated works were studies of Thomas Hope, Sir John Soane, German Architecture and the Classical Ideal, English Architecture, Neo-Classical and Nineteenth-Century Architecture, a History of Western Architecture, and monographs on several contemporary architects working in the Classical tradition, including John Simpson and Quinlan Terry. His Morality and Architecture (1977) was controversial and critical of contemporary entrenched beliefs.  His championship of Classicism in architecture resulted in his being honoured with the prestigious Henry Hope Reed Award (2013).