Martin Harrison (curator)

Martin Harrison (born 1945) is a British art historian, author and curator, noted for his work on photography, on the medium of stained glass and its history, and as an authority on the work of the painter Francis Bacon.


In the 1960s, Harrison worked as a photographer's assistant at Vogue.[1] Harrison was a founding trustee of the English Stained Glass Museum, located at Ely Cathedral, and curator of its collection from 1975 to 1980. He has curated exhibitions at the Victoria and Albert Museum and National Portrait Gallery in London, and others in Italy, the United States, Mexico, and Germany, where he co-curated a Bacon exhibition in 2006 at the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen in Düsseldorf. He contributed an essay to the catalogue of the Bacon centennial retrospective exhibition shown in 2008–2009 at Tate Britain, the Prado in Madrid and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.[2]


Harrison's 1998 book Young Meteors: British Photojournalism, 1957–1965 is a broad survey, also discussing fashion photography (the subject of other books by Harrison). Its title, borrowed from Jonathan Aitken's 1967 book The Young Meteors,[3] popularized the term, which other writers later applied to the photographers it covered without any mention of the book or its author.[4][5][6]

Harrison encouraged Lillian Bassman to republish her fashion photography years after she had given up in disgust.[7][8] He also edited Early Color, a collection of the photography of Saul Leiter,[9] and prepared the work of Ron Traeger for exhibition.[1]

Francis Bacon studies

Harrison is one of the foremost scholars in the field of Francis Bacon studies, and has published several books about the British artist's work,[10] including the catalogue raisonné of Bacon's works. beginning with Points of Reference in 1999.[2] Peter Conrad praised the careful investigation and deft criticism of his In Camera: Francis Bacon, concluding that it was "an opulent, paradoxically beautiful book".[11] In 2013 he is continuing work with the Francis Bacon Estate editing The Francis Bacon Catalogue Raisonné.[2] His writings on Bacon emphasize the importance to the artist's work of cinema and the photographs, often torn from magazines, that Bacon collected and referred to when working.[12]

Selected publications

  • Burne-Jones (1973). New York: Putnam.
  • Pre-Raphaelite paintings and graphics (1973). London: Academy Editions.
  • Victorian Stained Glass (1980). London: Thames & Hudson.
  • Brian Clarke (1981). London: Quartet Books.
  • Beauty Photography in Vogue (1987).
  • Appearances: fashion photography since 1945 (1991). New York: Rizzoli.
  • Young Meteors: British Photojournalism, 1957–1965 (1998)
  • Points of Reference (1999)
  • David Bailey: birth of the cool, 1957-1969 (1999)
  • Transition: the London art scene in the fifties (2002). London : Merrell/Barbican Art.
  • In Camera - Francis Bacon: Photography, Film and the Practice of Painting (2005)
  • Francis Bacon: Incunabula (2008).[13]
  • The Francis Bacon Catalogue Raisonné (2016).


  1. ^ a b Annalisa Barbieri, "Photography: Just look what I've found", The Independent, 5 September 1999. Accessed 12 February 2013.
  2. ^ a b c The Francis Bacon Catalogue Raisonné, Francis Bacon Estate. Accessed 12 February 2013. This has biographical notes on Harrison.
  3. ^ Martin Harrison, Young Meteors: British Photojournalism, 1957–1965 (London: Cape, 1998;ISBN 0-224-05129-6). Harrison writes in the book's preface: "The title 'Young Meteors' [is] taken from Jonathan Aitken's 1976 survey of the financial enterprise of sixties youth. . . ."
  4. ^ "Graham Finlayson: Simply black and white", The Lowry, 6 March 2006. Accessed 12 February 2013. (About Graham Finlayson.)
  5. ^ "Photographic exhibition opens at the Pier Arts Centre", Northings, 7 June 2011. Accessed 12 February 2013. (About John Bulmer, Terence Donovan, David Bailey and Don McCullin.)
  6. ^ Simon Roberts, "Photographic timeline", We English blog, 16 April 2008. Accessed 12 February 2013. (About Philip Jones Griffiths, Don McCullin, Roger Mayne, Nigel Henderson, John Bulmer, Terence Donovan and David Hurn.)
  7. ^ "Photographer Lillian Bassman dies", PDN Online, 14 February 2012. Accessed 12 February 2013.
  8. ^ "Lillian Bassman, photographe de mode et d’art, décède à l’âge de 94 ans Archived 7 April 2013 at", Art Media Agency, 15 February 2012. Accessed 12 February 2013.
  9. ^ "Saul Leiter: New York reflections", Jewish Historical Museum, [2011]. Accessed 12 February 2013.
  10. ^ "Calendar: Autumn term 2009", The Courtauld Institute of Art. Accessed 12 February 2013.
  11. ^ Peter Conrad, "With murder in mind", The Observer, 6 March 2005. Accessed 12 February 2013.
  12. ^ Angela Dalle Vacche, Film, Art, New Media: Museum Without Walls? (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012;ISBN 0230272924), p. 223
  13. ^ "Francis Bacon: Incunabula". Retrieved 9 August 2021.