News Archive 2023

Professor Deborah Swallow awarded CBE for services to Art and Education

17 Jun 2023

Deborah Swallow in front of colourful paintings
Professor Deborah Swallow, Märit Rausing Director of The Courtauld

The King’s Birthday Honours list recognises the achievements and service of people across the UK. The 2023 King’s Birthday Honours list are published today in a special supplement of The Gazette, the official newspaper of the Crown.

The CBE, or Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, is one of the ranks in the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. It is awarded to individuals for having a prominent role at national level, or a leading role at regional level. CBEs are also awarded for distinguished and innovative contribution to any area. Professor Swallow receives her accolade for services to art and education.

The Courtauld’s Märit Rausing Director, Professor Swallow has led the world’s foremost academic centre for art history, curating and the conservation of painting and its Gallery for 19 years – after her earlier 21-year career at the Victoria & Albert Museum as the head of the Indian and Asian Departments and as Director of Collections. During her time at the V&A she advocated strongly for the collections under her charge and championed outreach to the UK’s South Asian communities. At The Courtauld, she has shown a deeply-felt commitment to opening up the discipline of art history to embrace the arts beyond Europe and its diasporas, widening participation in higher education and art history, and overseeing a significant, ongoing expansion of its faculty, research, and curricula. This includes new appointments in important fields including the arts of Iran and Islam, China, the Buddhist world, and Black art histories.

Professor Swallow has also spearheaded one of the most significant developments in The Courtauld’s history, the landmark Courtauld Connects project, which is successfully transforming The Courtauld’s home at Somerset House, making its world-class collections and scholarship accessible to more people than ever before.

Lord Browne of Madingley, Chair of The Courtauld’s Governing Board, said:

“It’s great to see Debby honoured with a CBE. The contributions she has made to The Courtauld, and the worlds of art and education, have been crucially important. This recognition is thoroughly deserved. On behalf of the entire Board, I congratulate her and thank her for all she has done.”

Commenting on the announcement, Professor Swallow said the award of the CBE was “a great honour, not only for me but also for The Courtauld. Importantly, it serves as a reminder of the role that art and its histories continue to play, providing invaluable insights into culture, society, and humanity across time and space, whatever the medium or form of visual expression.”