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Robinson, B.W. 1912–2005

Robinson, B.W. 1912–2005

(Basil William Robinson)

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born June 20, 1912, in London, England; died December 29, 2005. Museum keeper, art historian, and author. A keeper at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, Robinson was a scholar particularly known for work on the history of Japanese armor and Persian miniature painting. Attending Winchester College as an exhibitioner from 1926 to 1931, he then completed an M.A. and B.Litt. in 1938 at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. Robinson was an assistant schoolmaster for Holyrood School in Sussex in the late 1930s before joining the Victoria and Albert Museum as assistant keeper in 1939. This was the same museum where he had become entranced by Japanese and Persian art as a boy, and so it was a happy appointment for him. With the exception of serving in Asia with the British Army during World War II, Robinson devoted himself to the museum until his retirement as keeper emeritus in 1972. Even in this capacity, he remained at the museum for four more years in order to help create the Far Eastern department. As a scholar, Robinson published numerous books. Some of these, such as A Primer of Japanese Sword Blades (1955) and The Arts of the Japanese Sword (1961), offer his knowledge of the ancient arms of Japan. However, he wrote even more frequently on Persian painting, and he was credited with bringing many varied forms of this art to the attention of Western critics and other scholars for the first time. His publications on this area of art include Persian Drawings from the 14th through the 19th Century (1965), Islamic Painting and the Arts of the Book (1976), Studies in Persian Art (1993), and his last book, The Persian Book of Kings: An Epitome of the Shahnama of Firdawsi (2002). Elected a fellow of the British Academy, Robinson also served on the British Institute of Persian Studies council and was a former president of the Royal Asiatic Society.

OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Daily Telegraph (London, England), January 3, 2006.

Times (London, England), January 26, 2006, p. 62.

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