Celebrating the Grove Dictionary's Creators

This spring, the original creators of The Dictionary of Art held a reunion celebrating the lasting success and influence of this unprecedented scholarly work. Some sixty veterans of the original print publication assembled at The Art Workers' Guild in Queen Square, London, including the dictionary’s original Editor, Jane Turner, and its Publisher, Ian Jacobs, who also launched the first digital version of the resource. The reunion also included Grove’s longest-serving advisor, Gillian Northcott Liles, whose expertise as lead copyeditor has ensured its articles maintain the same consistent Grove style and quality regardless of scope, from prehistoric rock art to NFTs.

Original creators of the Dictionary of ArtDevelopment of The Dictionary of Art began in the mid-1980s, and the 34-volume work published in 1996. At the peak of activity, over 100 people worked on the dictionary, including editors, indexers, proofreaders, and picture researchers, as well as administrative, production, and marketing staff. Ms. Turner marshalled and transformed the work of over 6,700 contributors into a balanced, systematic, and complete resource that belies the difficulty of such an endeavor, particularly in the era before widespread digital communication and publishing tools. With unprecedented scale, quality, and global breadth, the dictionary covered art, architecture, and visual culture of the world from prehistory to the present. The work was awarded the Dartmouth Medal by the American Library Association, and it has remained an indispensable resource for research and teaching in the field. For more on the development of the dictionary, see this timeline of Grove Art’s history created in celebration of its 20th anniversary.

Oxford University Press and the current editors work to update and expand Grove Art together with our editorial board and scholars around the world, seeking to maintain the depth, breadth, and contemporary relevance of this remarkable resource for future generations of art research. We salute the original creators of the dictionary and are grateful to be its stewards!