Lieutenant Colonel, British Royal Artillery, Director of Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives (MFAA) Sub-Commission, Italy.
As a scholar of Classical architecture and archaeology, Ward-Perkins was well suited to serve with the MFAA in both North Africa and Italy. His first assignment in the British Royal Artillery was to protect the ancient Roman sites of Lepcis Magna and Sabratha in the Tripolitania region of Libya. While in Tripolitania and Cyrenaica in 1943, Ward-Perkins developed an interest in the region and its archaeological treasures that would endure for the rest of his professional career. His time there was cut short however, and he was invalided to Cairo for some time. After the war, he was named Director of the Allied sub-commission for Monuments and Fine Arts in Italy. There he worked with Salvatore Scarpitta, an artist and Monuments Man who painted the portrait above.
Having been graduated from Oxford in 1934, Ward-Perkins received the Craven traveling fellowship from Magadalen College. He used this fellowship to travel through France and Great Britain, studying archaeology. From 1936 to 1939 he was an assistant to esteemed archaeologist Sir R.E. Mortimer Wheeler at the London Museum. Ward-Perkins then became chair of archaeology at the Royal University of Malta, where he worked until he began military service in World War II. He was named Director of the British School at Rome in 1946, and in this position also acted as the official advisor on restitutions to the British Embasy. As excavations in Italy were near impossible for many years due to the destruction incurred during the war, Ward-Perkins continued to study the Roman ruins of North Africa. A posthumously published book, The Severan Buildings of Lepcis Magna
, was based on his notes of these great ancient sites, which he was sent to protect so many years before.
Ward-Perkins also had a great interest in ancient city planning and topography. He reinitiated the Tabula Imperrii Romani project to map the Roman Empire, which was begun in 1928 and had become largely inactive. The author of numerous books on classical architecture, he co-authored “Etruscan and Roman Architecture” in the Pelican History of Art
in 1970. Always a pioneer in his field, he helped found the Association for Classical Archeology, as well as its journal, Fasti Archaeologici
. Ward-Perkins retired from the British School at Rome in 1974, and died in 1981.