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Thomas Sherrer Ross Boase, MC, FBA (1898–1974) was a British art historian, university teacher, and Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University.[1][2]


Thomas Boase was born in Dundee, Scotland, and was educated at Rugby School in England (1912–17). He fought on the Western Front during World War I in the Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (1917–19) and was awarded the Military Cross. Boase studied Modern History at Magdalen College, Oxford, from 1919 to 1921, and was subsequently Fellow and Tutor at Hertford College from 1922 to 1937.

From 1937 to 1947, Boase was Director of the Courtauld Institute of Art in London and Professor of History of Art at the University of London.[3] During World War II, he worked in the Government Code and Cipher School at Bletchley Park, followed by the RAF in Cairo, Egypt, from 1939 to 1941. He was then in charge of British Council activities in the Middle East, also based in Cairo, from 1943 to 1945.

From 1947 to 1968, Boase was President of Magdalen College. He also served as Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University from 1958 to 1960.

He was Slade Professor of Fine Art at Oxford for 1963–64.[4]

Boase became a Fellow of the British Academy in 1961. He was a Trustee of the National Gallery (1947–53) and the British Museum (1950–69). He was also a member of the Advisory Council of the Victoria and Albert Museum (1947–70).


  1. ^ Stoye, John, ‘Boase, Thomas Sherrer Ross (1898–1974)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, September 2004. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/30830.
  2. ^ Alexander, Jonathan J., ‘Thomas Sherrer Ross Boase, 1898–1974’. Proceedings of the British Academy, 101:353–364 (1999), . ISSN 0068-1202.
  3. ^ History of the Courtauld, The Courtauld Institute of Art.
  4. ^ "Oxford Slade Professors, 1870–present" (PDF). University of Oxford. 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 February 2015. Retrieved 27 January 2015.

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Academic offices
Preceded by
William George Constable
Director of the Courtauld Institute of Art
1936 to 1947
Succeeded by
Anthony Blunt
Preceded by
Henry Thomas Tizard
President of Magdalen College, Oxford
1947 to 1968
Succeeded by
James Griffiths
Preceded by
John Cecil Masterman
Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University
1958 to 1960
Succeeded by
Arthur Lionel Pugh Norrington