TitleJohn Hayes Archive
Admin/Biog HistoryJohn Trevor Hayes (1929-2005) was an art historian, museum director, author and lecturer.

Hayes was born in London on 21st January 1929, the son of Leslie Thomas Hayes, an actuary, and Gwendolene (Hayes). He was educated at Ardingly College in Sussex, before attending Keble College, Oxford, where he graduated in 1951 with a 2nd class degree in modern history. Whilst at Oxford, Hayes was introduced to art history by museum director and TV broadcaster, Kenneth Clark (1903-1984), who was giving the Slade lectures. Having been encouraged by Clark to continue his studies at the Courtauld Institute of Art, Hayes completed a postgraduate diploma with distinction in history of art in 1954.

Hayes' career in museums also began in 1954 when he was appointed curator at the London Museum ,the forerunner to the Museum of London then housed at Kensington Palace, under the directorship of Sir Mortimer Wheeler (1890-1976). Whilst there, Hayes published catalogues of works in the collections in 1961 and 1970, as well as a guidebook on Kensington Palace first published in 1968. Hayes also initiated the use of artist reference files at the London Museum, similar to the Witt Library system which he had seen at the Courtauld.

During his time at the Courtauld Hayes developed a strong interest in Thomas Gainsborough and in 1958-1959 he spent a year as a Research Scholar at the Institute of Arts in New York using a Commonwealth Fund fellowship. He used this opportunity to examine works by Gainsborough across the United States. On his return to the U.K., he curated an exhibition on Gainsborough for the Arts Council, and later received his PhD for research in to Gainsborough's landscape paintings in 1962. Hayes returned to the U.S. many times over the years and for an extended stay in 1969 when he was the Visiting Professor at Yale University. He forged strong ties with American collectors and institutions, particularly Robert Wark, the curator at the Huntington Gallery in Los Angeles.
Between 1970-1974 Hayes was director of the London Museum and he oversaw the amalgamation of this institution with the Guildhall Library to form the new Museum of London, as well as its move to new premises in the City of London.

From 1974 until his retirement in 1994, Hayes was the director of the National Portrait Gallery (NPG), succeeding Sir Roy Strong (born in 1935) (for more material relating to Hayes' work at the NPG, explore their archive collection here: During Hayes' tenure he focussed on making acquisitions of historical portraits and he initiated the commissioning of contemporary portraits for the gallery. He also pioneered the 'acceptance in lieu' scheme and established regional outstations where the gallery's art work could be displayed: Beningbrough Hall (owned by the National Trust) in Yorkshire in 1979, and Bodelwyddan Castle in Denbighshire in the 1980s. In 1980 he oversaw the establishment of the annual Portrait Award, initially sponsored by John Player and later by British Petroleum.

The lack of space for the NPG at its location at St. Martin's Place, London, was a pressing issue for Hayes but plans to move the gallery to the South Bank or Canary Wharf in the 1980s were not approved by the Trustees. Following extensive negotiations with the government, Hayes was given extra exhibition space in the form of the new twentieth century galleries and the Wolfson exhibition gallery, which opened in 1993, as well as the Heinz Library and additional office space for gallery staff.

Hayes was regarded as the authority on Gainsborough but his interests were much wider and he wrote publications and curated exhibitions devoted to Graham Sutherland, Mary Quant and Thomas Eakins amongst others. Hayes also held a number of posts in the art and academic world. In 1971 he was elected fellow of the Society of Antiquities, and he was the Chairman of the Walpole Society from 1981-1996 and Vice-President from 1996-2005. In 1984 Hayes was made an Honorary Fellow at Keble College, Oxford, and in 1996 he was made Commander of the British Empire (CBE). In his personal life, Hayes was an avid traveller and greatly enjoyed the ballet and opera.

He died on 25th December 2005 at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital following a stroke in August 2005.
DescriptionThe John Hayes archive contains material compiled and collected by Hayes relating to many of his publications or proposed publications, particularly concerning the artists Thomas Gainsborough, Joshua Reynolds, Thomas Rowlandson, Graham Sutherland and his unpublished catalogue for the Cincinnati Art Museum. It also contains material relating to Hayes' research on other artists and correspondence regarding the authorship and authenticity of individual works of art.

The archive consists of research notes, correspondence, draft text, images (photographs, transparencies, photocopies), and lectures.
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