Francis Haskell was born on 7 April 1928 in London, the eldest of three children (two sons and one daughter) of Arnold Lionel David Haskell (1903-1980), a ballet critic, and Vera Saitsova (d. 1968), a Russian émigrée. He was educated at the London Lycée, Eton College and King's College, Cambridge. In 1954 he was awarded a fellowship at King's, where he developed his studies to provide a survey of Italian patronage from the beginning of the seventeenth century to the end of the eighteenth. The result was "Patrons and painters: a study in the relations between Italian art and society in the age of the baroque" (1963). In 1965 Haskell married Larissa Salmina, curator of Venetian drawings at the Hermitage, and in 1967 he was appointed professor of the history of art in Oxford, a post which he held until his retirement in 1995. Other major publications include "Rediscoveries in Art" (1976), "Taste and the Antique" (1981), written jointly with Nicholas Penny, "History and its Images" (1993) and "The Ephemeral Museum" (2000). Francis Haskell died at home in Oxford on 18 January 2000.