Painter, George D. 1914–2005

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Painter, George D. 1914–2005

(George Duncan Painter)

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born June 5, 1914, in Birmingham, England; died December 8, 2005, in Hove, East Sussex, England. Museum worker and author. A long-time staff member at the British Museum, Painter was an authority on pre-sixteenth-century books and also wrote authoritative texts on such luminaries as Marcel Proust and Andre Gide. After teaching Latin at Liverpool University in the late 1930s, he earned an M.A. at Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1945. By then, he had already joined the staff at the British Museum, where he initially worked on the General Catalogue of Printed Books. He became an incunabulist, or a specialist in pre-sixteenth-century texts. Also having an interest in French literature, Painter published Andre Gide: A Critical and Biographical Study in 1951, which was followed by his well-received two-volume Proust (1959, 1965), the second volume of which earned him the Duff Cooper Memorial Prize. He would later win the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for the first volume of his Chateaubriand biography, published in 1977. In addition, Painter translated works of Proust, Gide, and Andre Maurois, and wrote a biography on William Caxton. Also a researcher of old maps, Painter drew controversy with his The Vinland Map and the Tartar Relation (1965), which he published with R.A. Skelton and T.E. Marston. In it, the authors argue that the Vinland Map discovered in the 1950s dated to the fifteenth-century, but some scholars held that the map was a forgery. The controversy was never resolved, but Painter always maintained it was an original map. Retiring in 1974 from the museum, Painter was named to the Order of the British Empire that same year in honor of his decades of valuable research work. His final publication was Studies in Fifteenth-Century Printing (1984).



Independent (London, England), December 21, 2005, p. 34.

Times (London, England), December 21, 2005, p. 48.