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Cecil Gould Papers



Cecil Gould Papers



Archive reference number



This collection contains drawings by Rupert T. Gould and Cecil Gould's diaries and travel notes and manuscripts of memoirs, short stories and art historical texts.

Record type


Alternative reference numbers


Administrative history

Cecil Hilton Monk Gould was born on 24 May 1918, the only son of Lieutenant-Commander Rupert T. Gould and Muriel Hilda Gould. His parents separated in a high profile case in 1927 and Cecil and his younger sister Jocelyn ('Buff') went to live with their mother in Kew. Gould was educated at Westminster School and entered the Courtauld Institute in 1937, however his studies were interrupted by the Second World War and he never took a degree. He joined the Royal Air Force and served in several European countries as well as in the Middle East.

He was appointed Assistant Keeper at the National Gallery in April 1946, shortly after Sir Philip Hendy became Director. After a few years Gould began work on the 16th century Italian collection. His two carefully researched catalogues were published in 1959 and 1962, and re-issued as a single volume in 1975. In the mid-1960s it was Gould's detective work with X-rays that established that the National Gallery's 'Portrait of Pope Julius II' [NG27], previously thought to be a copy, was in fact an original Raphael. Gould also took a leading role in the public appeal for the acquisition of Titian's 'The Death of Actaeon' [NG6420] in 1972. He was appointed Keeper and Deputy Director in 1973 and published a major monograph on Correggio in 1976.

During his career Gould also produced scholarly work on French art. He organised an Arts Council Exhibition on Corot, produced a concise account of Napoleon's looting of works of art for the Louvre entitled 'Trophy of Conquest' (1965), and wrote a book on 'Bernini in France' (1981).

Gould retired to the small village of Thorncombe in Somerset in 1978, however he maintained his close connections with the Gallery and with the Reform Club. He loved travelling and was an opera enthusiast, devoted to Wagner. He was made a correspondant (foreign associate) of the Institute de France shortly before his death on 7 Apr 1994 at the age of 75. His book on Parmigianino was published a year after his death.

Custodial history

Donated to the National Gallery Archive by Sir Michael Levey, July 2003
The manuscript for 'The Art and Life of Raphael' [NGA17/4/6] was transferred from the National Gallery Library, 14 Aug 2003.

Related material

NG16/478 Manuscript of a revised version of 'Tosca's Creed: Autobiography of an Art Historian' written by Cecil Gould, presented to Neil McGregor in 1992. The manuscript contains two letters: the first from Michael Levey to Gould in 1988 re various matters; the second from Gould to MacGregor in 1992 concerning the manuscript

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