Marion Roberts

Professor Emerita


When Marion came to Virginia in September in 1968, she was the first of the new faculty members in Art History hired by Frederick Hartt. Marion was a familiar presence to generations of our undergraduate and graduate students as Professor of Medieval Art, and she capped her long career in the department with her service as Graduate Director for six years, a period that saw a significant strengthening of the Art History graduate program in every respect. Marion’s scholarly focus has long been English medieval art, and her concern with documenting buildings and monuments that have been altered, damaged, or destroyed over the centuries led her to study the seventeenth and early eighteenth=century antiquarian scholars of English medieval heritage. Her work on this material resulted first in the exhibition and catalogue at the University Art Museum, “The Emergence of Clarity:: Cathedrals Illustrated 1650-1850” (1988); then in the exhibition in Alderman Library Special Collections, “The Seventeenth-Century Restoration” (1993); and culminating in her book, Dugdale and Hollar: History Illustrated (University of Delaware Press, 2001). Marion has mad another major contribution to scholarship through her Salisbury Cathedral website (http://salisbury.art.virginia.edu). I strongly encourage you to log on to this website and spend some time exploring the immense photographic archive and its innovative manner of presentation. Marion and her husband, Robert Sargent, made the vast majority of the photographs themselves, and one important result of this labor is that the thousands of images are free of copyright and available to all. Over the decades, Marion played a major part in shaping the careers and ambitions of many scholars in the academic and museum worlds, who have commented on her careful attention to their writing, her sound advice, and her willingness to commit time to working with students closely and often. The fruit of Marion’s life and work is written in our students’ lives and careers, as well as in her own scholarship.