David Roxburgh

David Roxburgh

Department Chair
Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Professor of Islamic Art History Islamic
David Roxburgh

After growing up in the Borders of Scotland, Roxburgh attended Edinburgh University and Edinburgh College of Art where he completed the MA in Fine Art (1988) in Art History and Studio (welded steel construction and bronze casting). Supported by a Thouron Scholarship, Roxburgh was admitted to the Ph.D. program in History of Art at the University of Pennsylvania where he completed the degree in 1996. He started to teach at Harvard in the same year and received tenure in 2003. In his publications, Roxburgh has pursued several interests—including aesthetics and the history of reception—and approaches to the study of art history. He has focused on primary written sources, manuscript painting, art of the book, calligraphy, Timurid art and architecture, exchanges between China and the Islamic lands, travel narratives, and histories of collecting, exhibitions, and museums. His articles and essays have appeared in Ars Orientalis, Art Bulletin, Art Forum, Iranian Studies, Journal of the American Oriental Society, Muqarnas, and RES among others. His long form publications include Prefacing the Image: The Writing of Art History in Sixteenth-Century Iran (Leiden, 2001), and The Persian Album 1400-1600: From Dispersal to Collection (New Haven, 2005), and edited volumes including, most recently, An Album of Artists’ Drawings from Qajar Iran (Cambridge and New Haven, 2017) which was the result of a graduate seminar. Roxburgh has also co-curated exhibitions and written for their catalogues (Turks: A Journey of a Thousand Years [London, 2005], Traces of the Calligrapher: Islamic Calligraphy in Practice, c. 1600-1900 [Houston, 2007], and Technologies of the Image: Art in 19th Century Iran [Cambridge, Mass., 2018]). He is currently working on two books: the first on the study of Medieval Iranian architecture through the archive of Myron Bement Smith; the second on art and literature in Herat in the early 1400s.

Contact Information

2 Arrow Street 313 Cambridge, MA 02138
p: 617.496.1056