Ian Jenkins

Senior Curator
Ancient Greece

Department: Greece and Rome


+44 (0)20 7323 8414


Ian Jenkins has responsibility for the ancient Greek collections. He joined the Museum in 1978 from the University of Bristol, where he read ancient Greek with archaeology and ancient history. While working at the Museum he wrote his PhD thesis on the collection history of its Egyptian, Assyrian and Classical sculptures. This thesis was published in 1992 as Archaeologists and Aesthetes in the Sculpture Galleries of the British Museum 1800-1939 (British Museum Press).

As well as writing their history, Dr Jenkins has published widely on the archaeology and art history, restoration and conservation history of the collections. His special interests include Greek architecture and sculpture, Ancient Greek social history, plaster casts after the antique and the collections of prints and drawings in the Department, notably the Paper Museum of Cassiano dal Pozzo, Townley archive and topographical drawings by various artists.

Dr Jenkins has completed a number of exhibition projects. These include: in 1983 the permanent exhibition of Greek and Roman Life (Room 69); in 1992 the permanent display of the Bassae Sculptures (Room 16); in 1995 the Hellenistic World (Room 22); in 1996, with Kim Sloan, the temporary exhibition, Vases and Volcanoes - Sir William Hamilton and his Collection; in 1998 the Parthenon Information Galleries (Rooms 18). In 2004-6 he led the refurbishment of the displays in the Greek galleries on the ground floor of the Museum (Rooms 13 - 20)

In 1998 Ian Jenkins was the Samuel H. Kress lecturer in ancient art for the archaeological Institute of America. He was also visiting professor at Cornell University.

Dr Jenkins has recently published a major new history of the Greek architecture and architectural Greek sculpture in the Museum. He leads the British Museum’s excavations at Cnidus (Knidos) in south-west Turkey and is currently preparing a loan exhibition about the ancient Greeks and their ancient Olympic games to travel to China in 2008.

Current projects

Return to Cnidus: excavations in south-west Turkey

Previous projects

The ancient Greeks and their Olympic Games: loan exhibition for China 2008.

The Parthenon Sculptures: book with photographs by Dudley Hubbard and Ivor Kerslake to mark the two hundred year anniversary of the first exhibition of the sculptures in London.

External fellowships/ honorary positions/ membership of professional bodies

OBE for services to Classical Archaeology and Museums

Fellow of the London Society of Antiquaries

Corresponding Member of the German Archaeological Institute and of the Archaeological Institute of America

Trustee of Sir John Soane’s Museum

Member of the Consultative Committee of The Burlington Magazine

Member of the Committee for the publication of the Paper Museum of Casssiano dal Pozzo

Recent publications

I. Jenkins, with Victoria Turner, The Greek Body (British Museum Press 2009)

I. Jenkins, Greek Architecture and its Sculpture ( British Museum Press 2006)

I. Jenkins, Cleaning and Controversy: The Parthenon Sculptures 1811-1939. British Museum Occasional Paper 146 (British Museum Press 2001)

I. Jenkins, Second Sight of the Parthenon Frieze, with S. Bird and F. Levi (British Museum Press 1998)

I. Jenkins, Vases and Volcanoes: Sir William Hamilton and his Collection - exhibition catalogue with K. Sloan (British Museum Press 1996)

I. Jenkins, The Parthenon Frieze (British Museum Press 1994)

I. Jenkins, Archaeologists and Aesthetes in the Sculpture Galleries of the British Museum 1800-1939 (British Museum Press 1992)

Full list of publications (pdf 120kb)