David Talbot Rice CBE (11 July 1903, Rugby - 12 March 1972, Cheltenham) was a British art historian.
His father was
"Talbot-Rice" and both he and his wife published using "Talbot
Rice" as a surname, but are also sometimes found under "Rice"
Rugby and brought up in Gloucestershire (England), he was
educated at Eton prior to
reading archaeology and anthropology at Christ Church,
At Oxford his circle of friends included
and Harold Acton
as well as his future wife (Elena)
Tamara Abelson (1904-1993) whom he was to marry in 1927. She was a
Russian émigrée he had first known at Oxford, who was also an art
historian, writing on Byzantine and Central Eastern art and other
Following his graduation Rice undertook a number of archaeological
digs overseas and developed a passion for all things Byzantine
. His expertise in the area of Islamic art was
recognised when, in 1932, Samuel Courtauld endowed the Courtauld
Institute at the University of London and Rice was among the
first appointments, taking up a position as lecturer.
Rice was subsequently appointed to the Watson Gordon Chair of Fine
Art at the University of
in 1934, a post he held until his death in 1972.
During World War II
, he served as Head
of the Near East Section of Military Intelligence (MI3b
), which was responsible for Eastern Europe
excluding Russia and Scandinavia
Originally commissioned on the Special List in 1939, he transferred
to the Intelligence Corps
1943. He ended the war as a Major
peacetime returned he came back to Scotland and
established an Honours degree at the university which combined art
history and studio art and is still offered today.
ambition to establish an arts centre in the University, was
realised posthumously when the Talbot Rice Gallery was founded and named after him.
- The Birth of Western Painting: a History of Colour, Form,
and Iconography Illustrated from the Paintings of Mistra and Mount
Athos, of Giotto and Duccio, and of El Greco. London,
- Byzantine Art. Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1935 (last
revised edition Penguin, 1968).
- Byzantine Painting at Trebizond. London, Allen &
- English Art, 871-1100. Oxford, Clarendon Press,
- The Beginnings of Christian Art. London, Hodder and
- The Art of Byzantium. London, Thames and Hudson,
- Byzantine Icons. London, Faber and Faber, 1959.
- Dark Ages: the Making of European Civilization.
London, Thames and Hudson, 1965.
- Byzantine Painting: the Last Phase. New York, Dial Press, 1968.
- Icons and their Dating: a Comprehensive Study of their
Chronology and Provenance. London, Thames and Hudson,
- Dictionary of Art Historians Tamara Talbot