Professor Vic Gatrell is a distinguished historian. He is Life Fellow of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. Born in South Africa in 1941, he graduated from Rhodes University before winning an Elsie Ballot scholarship to Cambridge. At St John’s College he took first-class honours in history and completed his Ph.D., before becoming a Fellow of Gonville and Caius College. He became Professor of British History at the University of Essex 2003–9. He retained his Fellowship in Caius, and returned to Cambridge in 2009, where he now lives.
His book The Hanging Tree: Execution and the English People 1780-1868 (Oxford, 1994) won the Royal Historical Society’s Whitfield Prize, and was nominated as one of the historical Canon in the Times Higher Education Supplement, 2010.
His City of Laughter: Sex and Satire in Eighteenth-century London (Atlantic, 2006) is a study of satirical caricature and manners from 1780 to 1830. It was joint winner of the Wolfson Prize for History, won the PEN Hessell-Tiltman Prize, was shortlisted for the Authors’ Club Banister Fletcher Award for art history, and was listed for the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-fiction.
His The First Bohemians: Life and Art in London’s Golden Age (Allen Lane, 2013) is a history of ‘proto-bohemian’ Covent Garden and the ‘lower’ art world in eighteenth-century London. It argues for the significance of the arts that celebrated ‘real life’ in that era. It was shortlisted for the Hessell-Tiltman Prize.