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Jocelyn Mary Catherine Toynbee, FSA, FBA (3 March 1897 in Paddington, London – 31 December 1985 in Oxford[1]) was an English archaeologist and art historian. "In the mid-twentieth century she was the leading British scholar in Roman artistic studies and one of the recognized authorities in this field in the world."[1]

Jocelyn Toynbee
Prof Jocelyn Toynbee.jpg
in 1985 with a marble head artefact
Jocelyn Mary Catherine Toynbee

(1897-03-03)3 March 1897
Died31 December 1985(1985-12-31) (aged 88)
OccupationArchaeologist, art historian
RelativesArnold J. Toynbee (brother)


Jocelyn Toynbee was the daughter of Harry Valpy Toynbee, secretary of the Charity Organization Society, and his wife Sarah Edith Marshall (1859–1939); her brother Arnold J. Toynbee was a notable universal historian.

Toynbee was educated at Winchester High School for Girls and (like her mother) at Newnham College, Cambridge (1916–20),[2] where she achieved a First in the Classical Tripos. Toynbee completed her doctoral thesis at Oxford University on the subject of Hadrianic sculpture.[3]

She was tutor in classics at St Hugh's College, Oxford (1921–24), lecturer in classics at Reading University (1924–27), and from 1927 Fellow, Lecturer and director of studies in classics at Newnham College, Cambridge (1927–51), where her students included Lilian Hamilton Jeffery. In 1931 she was appointed lecturer in classics at Cambridge before becoming the fourth Laurence Professor of Classical Archaeology (1951–1962).[4] Toynbee maintained strong links with the British School at Rome during her career, and served as the Chairman of the Faculty from 1954-59.[2]

In 1962, Toynbee organised a major exhibition at the Guildhall Museum on the subject of Roman Art in Britain,[3] resulting in a key publication.[5] A complete list of her works was published in the Papers of the British School at Rome.[2]


Toynbee was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries (FSA) in 1943.[1] She was awarded the medal of the Royal Numismatic Society in 1948.[6] In 1952, she was elected a Fellow of the British Academy (FBA).[1] In 1956 she was awarded the Huntington Medal of the American Numismatic Society.[7] She was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1973.[8] In 1977, an edited volume of 20 papers was published in honour of Toynbee, in which Martin Robertson states that “No one has done more than she – no one perhaps so much – to establish and make clear the profound unity of the Greco-Roman artistic tradition”.[9] A further collected volume of papers in memory of Toynbee was published in 1988.[10]


  • The Hadrianic school: a chapter in the history of Greek art, 1934
  • Roman Medallions, 1944
  • Some Notes on Artists in the Roman World, Brussels, 1951
  • Christianity in Roman Britain, 1953
  • The Ara Pacis Reconsidered, Proc. Brit. Acad. ,1953
  • (with J.B. Ward-Perkins) The Shrine of St Peter and the Vatican Excavations, 1956
  • The Flavian Reliefs from the Palazzo delle Cancellaria in Rome, 1957
  • Art in Roman Britain, 1962
  • Art in Britain under the Romans, 1964
  • The Art of the Romans, 1965
  • Death and Burial in the Roman World, 1971
  • Animals in Roman Life and Art, 1973
  • Roman Historical Portraits, 1978
  • The Roman Art Treasures from The Temple of Mithras 1986


  1. ^ a b c d Malcolm Todd, ‘Toynbee, Jocelyn Mary Catherine (1897–1985)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004, accessed 4 July 2008
  2. ^ a b c Hatfield, L. (1972). "Jocelyn Mary Catherine Toynbee". Papers of the British School at Rome. 40: 1–10. JSTOR 40310848.
  3. ^ a b Millett, M. (2016). "Roman Britain since Haverfield". In Millett, M.; Revell, L.; Moore, A.J. (eds.). The Oxford Handbook of Roman Britain. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 22–42.
  4. ^ Cambridge University Alumni Archived 30 May 2012 at
  5. ^ Toynbee, J. (1964). Art in Britain under the Romans. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Recipients of the Huntington Medal Award". Retrieved 22 January 2018.
  8. ^ "Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter T" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
  9. ^ Robertson, M. (1977). "Jocelyn Toynbee - an appreciation". In Munby, J.; Henig, M. (eds.). Roman Life and Art in Britain: a Celebration in Honour of the Eightieth Birthday of Jocelyn Toynbee Part i. Oxford: British Archaeological Reports 41(i). pp. 1–2.
  10. ^ Zanker, P.; Walker, S.; Gordon, R. L.; Beard, M.; Reynolds, J.M. (1988). Image and mystery in the Roman world : three papers given in memory of Jocelyn Toynbee. Gloucester: Alan Sutton.

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Academic offices
Preceded by
Arnold Walter Lawrence
Laurence Professor of Classical Archaeology Cambridge University
1951 - 1962
Succeeded by
Robert Manuel Cook