currently working on a four part series
This was followed in 2006 by Simon Schama's Power of Art which, in each of the eight programmes, takes a different artist and looks at their life through one of their most important works. The earliest artist was Caravaggio (David with the Head of Goliath), through to the very modern artists Picasso (Guernica) and Rothko (The Seagram Murals). He is
Simon Schama with Picasso's Guernica
Simon Schama was born in London in February 1945 into a Jewish family - his father was a textile merchant. He won a scholarship to Haberdashers' Aske's school where he was outstanding at both history and English.
Schama went on to Christ's College, Cambridge where he studied history under Sir John ('Jack') Plumb, whose 60s students included the eminent historians Roy Porter and Linda Colley.
Schama gained a very rare 'starred first' (a first class honours degree with distinction) in 1966, and joined the University staff, but with only a temporary contract. In 1976 he moved to a permanent post at Brasenose College, Oxford.
The first episodes of A History of Britain, a series of documentaries that was produced for BBC TV to mark the Millenium, were broadcast in autumn 2000. More episodes were screened during the spring of 2001, and took the story up to the end of the eighteenth century.
In 2003, Scharma signed a contract with the BBC to write three new books and narrate two accompanying TV series, in a deal worth £3 million. The first of these projects was a book and a series called Rough Crossings dealing with stories of migration across the Atlantic.
Simon Schama was awarded the CBE in 2001.
In March 2007, Schama recorded a 'podcast' conversation with the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, for the BBC. They discussed history, with Blair admitting that he wished he had studied that subject rather than law.
Simon Schama is married to Ginny Papaioannou, a professor of genetics at Columbia University, and they have two children Chloe (b.1983) and Gabriel (b.1985).
I met Simon Schama in October 2006 when he came to Nottingham to give a talk about his series Power of Art, which had just started to be broadcast.
He showed excerpts from the programmes and talked a little about them. I found his talk about Picasso's Guernica very interesting as it was about the bombing of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War.
Simon signed my copy of his book and also my autograph book
In 1980, he left to become a professor at Harvard University and during the next 10 years, wrote three books Two Rothschilds (1980), The Embarrassment of Riches (1987) and the award-winning Citizens (1989) a book about one of his specialisms, The French Revolution. In 1993 he became professor of history at Columbia University in New York, specialising in European cultural history and the history of art.
The third part covered the history from 1776 up to 2000.
Simon Schama signed my copy of
his book Power of Art
for BBC & PBS The American Future: A History, to be broadcast
around the time of the presidential election of 2008.
Prime Minister Tony Blair and Simon Schama
A History of Britain
discuss history at No.10
Simon Schama with his wife Ginny
Simon Schama giving a lecture in 2007
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