25 Facts About Nikolaus Pevsner


Sir Nikolaus Bernhard Leon Pevsner was a German-British art historian and architectural historian best known for his monumental 46-volume series of county-by-county guides, The Buildings of England.


Nikolaus Pevsner was born in Leipzig, Saxony, the son of Anna and her husband Hugo Pevsner, a Russian-Jewish fur merchant.


Nikolaus Pevsner attended St Thomas School, Leipzig, and went on to study at several universities, Munich, Berlin, and Frankfurt am Main, before being awarded a doctorate by Leipzig in 1924 for a thesis on the Baroque architecture of Leipzig.


Nikolaus Pevsner worked as an assistant keeper at the Dresden Gallery between 1924 and 1928.


Nikolaus Pevsner converted from Judaism to Lutheranism early in his life.


Nikolaus Pevsner taught at the University of Gottingen between 1929 and 1933, offering a specialist course on English art and architecture.


Nikolaus Pevsner's first post was an 18-month research fellowship at the University of Birmingham, found for him by friends in Birmingham and partly funded by the Academic Assistance Council.


Nikolaus Pevsner was employed as a buyer of modern textiles, glass and ceramics for the Gordon Russell furniture showrooms in London.


Nikolaus Pevsner was "more German than the Germans" to the extent that he supported "Goebbels in his drive for 'pure' non-decadent German art".


In 1940, Nikolaus Pevsner was taken to the internment camp at Huyton, Liverpool as an enemy alien.


Nikolaus Pevsner spent some time in the months after the Blitz clearing bomb debris, and wrote reviews and art criticism for the Ministry of Information's Die Zeitung, an anti-Nazi publication for Germans living in England.


Nikolaus Pevsner completed for Penguin Books the Pelican paperback An Outline of European Architecture, which he had begun to develop while in internment.


Nikolaus Pevsner was closely involved with the Reviews proprietor, H de C Hastings, in evolving the magazine's theories on picturesque planning.


In 1942, Nikolaus Pevsner was appointed a part-time lecturer at Birkbeck College, London; he would eventually retire from the college in 1969 as its first Professor of Art History.


Nikolaus Pevsner lectured at Cambridge University for almost 30 years, having been Slade Professor of Fine Art there for a record six years from 1949 to 1955, and was the Slade Professor at Oxford in 1968.


Nikolaus Pevsner wrote 32 of the books himself and 10 with collaborators, with a further four of the original series written by others.


In 1946, Nikolaus Pevsner made the first of several broadcasts on the BBC Third Programme, presenting nine talks in all up to 1950, examining painters and European art eras.


Nikolaus Pevsner was a founding member in 1957 of the Victorian Society, the national charity for the study and protection of Victorian and Edwardian architecture and other arts.


Nikolaus Pevsner served for ten years as a member of the National Advisory Council on Art Education, campaigning for art history to be a compulsory element in the curriculum of art schools.


Nikolaus Pevsner was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1965 and awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1967.


Nikolaus Pevsner received an Honorary Doctorate from Heriot-Watt University in 1975.


Nikolaus Pevsner died at home in Wildwood Terrace, Hampstead, London, in August 1983.


Nikolaus Pevsner is buried in the churchyard of the Church of St Peter, Clyffe Pypard, in Wiltshire, where he and his wife Lola had a cottage.


Nikolaus Pevsner's elder son, Dieter, was an editor at Penguin Books and co-founder with Oliver Caldecott of the publishing company Wildwood House in the 1970s.


Nikolaus Pevsner's younger son, Tom, was a film producer and director who went on to work on several James Bond films.