John Huxtable Elliott 1990-1997

John Elliott (1990-97) is a historian who sets the study of the early-modern Spanish Empire in a comparative trans-Atlantic and global perspective. He has had a particularly fruitful relationship with the history of art and values the ‘creative tension’ generated by the encounter with other academic disciplines.

Elliott’s many books include Imperial Spain (1963), The Count-Duke of Olivares (1986), Empires of the Atlantic World: Britain and Spain in America 1492-1830 (2006), and a collection of reflections upon the study of history in History in the Making (2012). He was notably a non-Marxist editor and board member of the journal Past and Present, in which guise he features in a group portrait in the National Portrait Gallery.

In his inaugural lecture as professor he made a plea for comparative history in European and global terms, warning against British historians ‘succumbing to a creeping provincialism.’ As the EEC became the EU Elliott urged a ‘broadening, not narrowing’ of the historian’s horizons.