British Art History by leading art historian Bendor Grosvenor out this autumn

March 21, 2024

We are delighted to publish The Invention of British Art, a frank reassessment of the history of British art by a true expert in the field, Dr Bendor Grosvenor. Our Chairman Lorne Forsyth acquired World Rights direct from the author. The book will be published in hardback and eBook on 10th October 2024.

You have to try really hard, it seems, to like British art. Even its admirers concede it has contributed little to world art history. So why is British art so overlooked? Is it because Britain itself has never been enthusiastic about art, and indeed is still at ill at ease with it today? Is it, quite simply, bad? Or has British art suffered an injustice, its impact on the world unjustly disregarded? None of these questions can be answered without a frank reassessment of the history of British art, those who made it, and who it was made for.

Leading art historian Bendor Grosvenor is taking on that challenge. Looking at key moments, objects, and individuals from each era, it explores how they were shaped by the world in which the artists lived, and why – above all – it took so long for the art from these isles to actually become ‘British’. From folk art to the role of female artists, from the influences of invaders to the territories of the British Empire, the story of British art is just as much a story of Britain’s place in the world, and its impact upon it, as the art and artists themselves.

Beautifully illustrated throughout, The Invention of British Art is a provocative and captivating survey of British art from c. 10,000 BCE to the 19th century.

Pippa Crane, Editorial Director at Elliott & Thompson said:

‘British art has such a rich and fascinating history, it’s long overdue its time in the spotlight, and there no one better qualified to tell that story than Bendor Grosvenor. Beautifully written and incredibly accessible, this is sure to become a highly regarded classic, and we are delighted to be publishing it.’

Bendor Grosvenor, author of The Invention of British Art, said:

‘This is a story I have always wanted to tell. Of how a small island nation managed to produce, after many setbacks, some of the most brilliant and distinctive artists who ever lived, like Constable and Turner. But it is also a story of ideas, power, faith and empire, and reveals how art helped shape the Britain we know today.’


Dr Bendor Grosvenor is an art historian specialising in Old Masters and British pictures, especially portraits. He is best known as the co-presenter of the BBC series Britain’s Lost Masterpieces, and has discovered a number of important paintings by prominent artists, including Joshua Reynolds, Thomas Lawrence, Van Dyck, Rubens and Titian. He is also a writer, a former political adviser, and between 2005 and 2014 worked in the London art trade. He is now based in Scotland. In 2014 Apollo Magazine included him in their ’40 Under 40′ feature, and in 2017 the Daily Telegraph named him as one of the 500 Most Influential People in Britain.