About David A. Cross

Since 1990, David has been lecturing and researching a range of subjects in art history.  His audiences have included those at conferences, extra-mural classes at Lancaster, Liverpool and Newcastle universities, Arts Society groups [formerly NADFAS], U3A events, art galleries and occasional postgraduate seminars all over the U.K., totalling more than 500 presentations. He has also lectured at the National Portrait Galleries in both London and Edinburgh and given papers at the University of Northumbria on both depression and hypochondria in the lives of artists, in a recapitulation of his earlier studies. For ten years he was a tutor for the Open College of the Arts. In Europe, he has lectured in France, Germany and Spain and in recent years he has spoken on cruise ships in the Mediterranean and Baltic. Among his publications are books on George Romney, Joseph Bouet and Percy Kelly.  His latest book is about the public sculpture of Lancashire and Cumbria.  He is a past president of the Arts Society Cumbria [formerly the Cumbria Decorative and Fine Arts Society] and a vice-president of the Romney Society.  Following his visiting fellowship at University College, Durham from 2000-1, he was appointed an Honorary Research Fellow. He lives in Carlisle.

Born in Barrow-in-Furness, Lancashire [now Cumbria] in 1951, David is the eldest son of Malcolm Cross, an engineer prominent in the Dreadnought and Polaris programmes and the prime mover in the establishment of the Dock Museum, Barrow.  At school in Staffordshire he sang in choirs, performed in Shakespeare and discovered the curvilinear work of Barbara Hepworth.  Having taken science ‘A’ levels, he graduated in Psychology from Durham, but became increasingly restless as he sought a niche in the arts.  A spell teaching TEFL in Cairo fanned his aesthetic flame and on returning to the U.K., he taught English Literature in maintained and independent schools.  This career was bolstered by an M.A. by research at Lancaster during which he investigated the mythological elements in Shakespeare and his contemporaries.  Among his extra-curricular activities, he directed productions of Shakespeare, Wilde and Offenbach, organised speaking competitions, taught ballroom dancing, supported cross country teams, maintained a 300 acre woodland estate and set up a skateboard club.

A long-standing aspiration to write a novel led to his resignation in 1987 and the eventual text was completed, but still unpublished, by 1990.  During this early period he also wrote poetry and had some travel writing accepted by the Sunday Times.  Later at Lancaster University he spoke on liminality at the Ruskin centenary conference and contributed towards the Lake District Studies diploma course.  In 1998 he established Cumbrian Lives, a research programme supported by several local academics, which seeks to identify and research the biographies of significant Cumbrian in all disciplines. Following extensive research into the life and work of George Romney he was awarded his PhD at Lancaster.  An active member of the Romney Society from its inception, he edited their Transactions for several years.  The training of Church Recorders by the Arts Society, was enhanced by his seminars on saints and their symbols. From 2000-2001 he was the Slater visiting fellow at University College, Durham, during which period he catalogued the art collection in Durham Castle.  This led to a second fellowship, this time at Collingwood College from 2002-2003, when he wrote a catalogue of the pencil portraits by Joseph Bouet in the University Library’s Special Collections.