About Philip Mansel
Philip Mansel is a historian of France and the Ottoman Empire, courts and cities. He was born in London in 1951 and educated at Eton College, where he was a King’s Scholar, and at Balliol College, Oxford, where he read Modern History and Modern Languages. Following four years’ research into the French court of the period 1814-1830, he was awarded his doctorate at University College, London in 1978.
His first book, Louis XVIII, was published in 1981 and this - together with subsequent works such as Paris Between Empires 1814-1852 (2001) - established him on both sides of the Channel as an authority on the later French monarchy. Six of his books have been translated into French.
Altogether Philip Mansel has published eleven books of history and biography, mainly relating either to France or to his other main area of interest, the Ottoman Empire and the Middle East: Sultans in Splendour was published in 1988 and Constantinople: City of the World’s Desire 1453-1924 in 1995. Philip Mansel’s latest book, Levant: Splendour and Catastrophe on the Mediterranean (John Murray), was published in November 2010 in Britain and in April 2011 in America. The Turkish edition was published in November 2011. Greek, Italian and Russian editions will also be appearing.
Over the past 30 years he has contributed reviews and articles to a wide range of newspapers and journals, including History Today, The English Historical Review, The International Herald Tribune, Books and Bookmen, The Daily Telegraph, The Independent and Apollo. Currently he writes reviews for The Spectator, Cornucopia, The Art Newspaper and The Times Literary Supplement.
In 1995 Philip Mansel was a founder with David Starkey, Robert Oresko and Simon Thurley of the Society for Court Studies, a body designed to promote research in the field of court history, and he is the Editor of the Society’s journal.
He has travelled widely, lecturing in many countries - including the United States, France, Germany, Italy and Turkey - and has made a number of appearances on radio and television, including in the two-part Channel 4 documentary “Harem” and in two BBC2 documentaries on Versailles in 2012. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, the Royal Society of Literature, the Institute of Historical Research (University of London) and the Royal Asiatic Society, and is a member of the Conseil Scientifique of the Centre de Recherche du Chateau de Versailles. In 2010 Philip Mansel was appointed Chevalier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and in 2012 was the recipient of the annual London Library Life in Literature Award.
Philip Mansel recently co-edited (with Torsten Riotte) Monarchy and Exile: The Politics of Legitimacy from Marie de Medicis to Wilhelm II (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), which includes his article “From the Exile to the Throne: The Europeanisation of Louis XVIII”, and he wrote the introduction to the 2012 re-issue of Nancy Mitford’s The Sun King. He is currently working on his own biography of Louis XIV. His book on Napoleon and his court, The Eagle in Splendour, will be republished by IBTauris in 2015. He is also working on a short history of Aleppo. He is co-organising the Levantine Heritage Foundation Conference on ‘The Levantines: Commerce and Diplomacy’, in Istanbul, on 3-5 November 2014 (info).
In 1995 Philip Mansel started a campaign to save Clavell Tower, a ruined folly of 1831 which threatened to fall over the cliff above Kimmeridge Bay. This led, in 2007-8, to the Tower’s deconstruction, relocation, reconstruction, restoration and modernisation by the Landmark Trust. Clavell Tower is now the Trust’s most popular property.
Philip Mansel lives in London, frequently travelling to Paris, Istanbul and elsewhere for research, conferences and lectures. He also runs the family estate at Smedmore, near Wareham in Dorset. For more information on this historic house, visit the web site and read the article published in the World of Interiors magazine.