Professor Timothy Mowl, FSA

Professorial Research Fellow in the History of Architecture and Designed Landscapes

Professor Timothy Mowl, FSA, is a Professorial Research Fellow in the Humanities Research Institute.

He has published a series of ground-breaking works in the history of architecture, taste and design. These include revisionist biographies of the eighteenth-century Gothick pioneer, Horace Walpole (1996), and the eccentric connoisseur, William Beckford (1998), as well as academic studies on Elizabethan and Jacobean style (1993); architecture in the Civil War and Commonwealth (1995); and the creation of Georgian Bath by the architect John Wood (1988). His major biography of the architect, designer and landscape gardener, William Kent, was published by Jonathan Cape in April 2006 and appeared in paperback, published by Pimlico, in 2007.

His research has also had a major influence on the history of landscape and garden design. His Gentlemen & Players: Gardeners of the English Landscape, charting the influence of aristocrats and professionals on the creation of landscape parks and gardens, was published in 2000. He then embarked, aided by former doctoral students acting as researchers and co-authors, on a Leverhulme Trust-funded nationwide series of studies of the historic landscapes and gardens of England. Historic Gardens of Gloucestershire was published in 2002, Dorset in 2003, Wiltshire in 2004, Cornwall in 2005, Worcestershire in 2006, Oxfordshire in 2007 and Northamptonshire and Cheshire in 2008. Staffordshire appeared in 2009, Somerset in 2010, Warwickshire in 2011, Herefordshire in 2012 and Cambridgeshire in 2013, completing the research project.

Professor Mowl has also written extensively on the adverse consequences of twentieth-century architectural experiment in historic British cities. These writings include two case studies, The Sack of Bath – And After (1989), co-written with Adam Fergusson, and Cheltenham Betrayed (1995); and a controversial polemic on twentieth-century architectural experiment, Stylistic Cold Wars: Betjeman versus Pevsner (2000). These studies all concern the defence of historic places threatened by the pervasive British uncertainty on all matters of architectural style and urban values.

Professor Mowl was elected to a Professorial Research Fellowship in the University of Buckingham’s Humanities Research Institute in 2012. Before joining the Institute, Professor Mowl taught in the University of Bristol’s Department of History of Art, where he became Reader in 2003. In 2005 he moved to the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, setting up the University of Bristol’s Institute for Garden and Landscape History in the following year. He holds the Emeritus Chair of History of Architecture and Designed Landscapes at Bristol and was until recently the Director of its MA in Garden History, which he ran from its inception in 2000.

Professor Mowl supervises graduate students in Architectural History and Landscape Design at Master’s and doctoral levels.


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  • HRI


    Timothy Mowl & Laura Mayer, Historic Gardens of Cambridgeshire and the Isle of Ely (The Historic Gardens of England Series, Bristol: Redcliffe Press, 2013)

  • HRI


    Timothy Mowl & Jane Bradney, Historic Gardens of Herefordshire (The Historic Gardens of England Series, Bristol: Redcliffe Press, 2012)