Dame Joan EVANS DBE FSA 1893 - 1977
Daughter of John EVANS and Maria Millington LATHBURY (John's third wife)
Born: 23rd June 1893 Abbots Langley, Hertfordshire.
Died: 14th July 1977 Wotton under Edge, Gloucestershire.
The following is from England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007
Joan Evans was the only child of Evans's third marriage, to Maria Millington Lathbury. She was born at Nash Mills on 22 June 1893 when her father was 70 and her mother 37. She lived at Nash Mills until 1906 when the family moved to the newly built Britwell at Berkhamsted. Her mother and father travelled extensively, sharing a mutual interest in antiquity and Joan seems mainly to have been brought up by her beloved nanny, Caroline Hancock, who came to look after Joan when she was eleven months old and stayed for 67 years. From the age of two Joan spent happy summer holidays with nanny Hancock and her parents and sister at their home in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire. She dedicated her memoir Prelude and Fugue to Nanny Hancock who died in 1961, aged 97.
Joan attended the local Grammar School in Berkhamsted. After visiting Rome with her mother when she was 21, Joan changed her mind about reading for the Diploma in Anthropology as she had intended, and instead read classical archaeology at St. Hugh's, Oxford. She successfully gained her diploma, with honours, in 1916 (women were not granted degrees at this time); a certificate of letters in 1919 and a BLitt. in 1920. She was the only female archaeology student and one of the few fellow archaeology students at the time was an Australian named Gordon Childe. (Childe was at Queens College and one of his supervisors was Joan's brother Arthur; he went on to a distinguished career as professor of archaeology at Edinburgh.) She then worked as St. Hugh's librarian until 1922. Having grown up surrounded by her father's extensive and varied collections and being allowed to look at these collections and even help him write the labels on occasion, gave her the enthusiasm and interest to follow him in collecting. She collected beads whilst still a very young child, some from crackers, others given to her by her father from his travels, and bits of amber collected by him from the Suffolk coast. She mentions (in Prelude and Fugue) a visitor giving her a Pistrucci crown to add to her own coin collection, when she was about nine years old. In her second year at St. Hugh's she 'acquired a pair of old French candlesticks, once in the Brissac family, through a college friend who turned out to be an unknown third cousin' and ' I have bought a gilt wood torchère about 4 ft. high, about 1879, I guess, and a good one' (Prelude and Fugue). She collected gems and jewels, eventually giving her large collection to the Victoria and Albert Museum, where it remains today.
From the age of four, Joan began travelling abroad with nanny Hancock at the invitation of her parents; when she was eight her father took her to see the gravel pits of Saint-Acheul; he also took her to Germany to see the places where he had travelled as a young man with his brother Arthur. They often made purchases in the antique shops in the towns they visited.
Joan Evans was the first woman to be elected as President of the Society of Antiquaries, a position her father and brother had held before her; she received the gold medal of the Society in 1973. At various times she was president of the Royal Archaeological Institute; fellow of the Royal Historical Society and the Royal Society of Literature; DLitt, London and Oxford, honorary LLD, Edinburgh, honorary LittD, Cambridge and honorary FRIBA. She was appointed a Dame of the British Empire in 1976.
Joan Evans was extremely generous, giving her time and money to various causes. She was a major benefactor of St. Hugh's College, and was instrumental in assisting in the purchase of the ridge above her home at Wotton under Edge for the National Trust.
Books by Joan Evans
1921 English Jewellery from the Fifth Century A.D. to 1800 London,
Methuen & Co., 1921; Nabu public Domain Reprint.
1922 Magical Jewels of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance particularly in England,
Oxford Clarendon Press 1922 Kessinger Legacy Reprint.
1924 Anglo Norman Lapidaries
1925 Life in Mediaeval France.
(Also in French: Civilisation en France au Moyen Âge)
Oxford University Press. 1925 Phaidon 1969 3rd Edition
1926 St Joan of Orleans: scenes from the 15th century “Mystére de Siége d’Orleans.” Selected and translated by J.E. and the text by Peter Studer.
Clarendon Press 1926
1928 The Unconquered Knight: a chronicle of the deeds of Don Pero Nino, Count of Buelna, by his standard bearer, Diaz de Gamez.
Translated and selected from El Vitorial by J.E.Routledge 1928 Paperback: The Boydell press 2004.
1931 Pattern, a Study of Ornament in Western Europe from 1180 to 1900
2 vols. Oxford, The Clarendon Press, 1931
1931 Monastic Life at Cluny 1931
Archon Books 1968 USA
1931 English Posies and Posy Rings
A Catalogue with introduction by Joan Evans.
Oxford University Press 1931
1933 English Mediaeval Lapidaries 1933
Joan Evans & Mary S SERJEANTSON (ed)
1933 Nature in Design A Study of Naturalism in Decorative Art, from the bronze Age to the Renaissance.
London Oxford University Press 1933
1936 The Palace of Minos
Index (of artefacts) Vol. 5 1936 Complied by Joan Evans in collaboration with Sir Arthur Evans.
Cambridge University press – Digitally printed version 2013.
1938 The Romanesque Architecture of the Order of Cluny.
Cambridge University Press, 1938; Paperback reprint by Cambridge UP 2011
1938 Joinville’s History of Saint Louis Edited by Joan Evans.
Gregynog Press 1937; Oxford University Press 1938
1939 Taste and Temperament. A Brief Study of Psychological Types in their relation to the Visual Arts.
Jonathan Cape. 1939
1939 Chateaubriand A Biography.
1943 Time and Chance The Story of Arthur Evans and his Forebears. Biography
1946 The Pursuit of Happiness. The Story of Madame de Sérilly 1762-1799.
Biography Longmans, Green and Co. 1946
1947 The Unselfish Egoist A life of Joseph Joubert.
Biography Longmans, Green and Co. 1947
1948 Art in Mediaeval France, 987-1498
London: Oxford Univ. Press, 1948
1949 English Art: 1307-1461 The Oxford History of English Art
Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1949
1950 Cluniac Art of the Romanesque Period
Cambridge University Press, 1950; edited, with Whitehouse, John Howard. Paperback reissue by Cambridge UP.
1950 Style in Ornament
Oxford University Press, 1950
1952 Dress in Mediaeval France
Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1952
1953 A History of Jewellery 1100-1870
Faber & Faber 1953
1954 John Ruskin The first biography of Ruskin to be written by a biographer with access to Ruskin’s own diaries.
1955 An Adventure (edited by Joan Evans)
Macmillian 1955 (first pub. in 1913)
1955 The Endless Web. A History of John Dickinson & Co. Ltd. 1804-1954.
Jonathan Cape. 1955
1956 History of the Society of Antiquaries
1956 Oxford University Press.
1956 Ruskin, John Diaries. 3 vols.
Biography Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1956
1959 The Lamp of Beauty. Writings on Art by John Ruskin. Selected and edited by Joan Evans.
Phaidon Oxford 1959
1959 Madame Royale Biography.
Museum Press, 1959
1964 Prelude & Fugue An Autobiography.
Museum Press Ltd 1964
1964 Monastic Architecture in France From the Renaissance to the Revolution.
Cambridge University Press 1964
1966 The Conways A History of Three Generations. Biography
London: Museum Press, 1966
1966 The Victorians
Cambridge University Press, 1966
1966 The Flowering of the Middle Ages Edited by J.E.
1) Thames & Hudson, London, 1966
2) in German - Blüte des Mittelalters
3) Spanish edition translated by Mireia Bofill. Part of a series called Historia de las Civilizaciones.
1970 Monastic Iconography in France from the Renaissance to the Revolution.
Cambridge University Press. 1970