Evelyn Welch
Acting Principal of King's College London
In office
1 February 2021 – 1 June 2021
Preceded bySir Ed Byrne
Succeeded byShitij Kapur
Personal details
Evelyn Kathleen Samuels

1959 (age 63–64)
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Children3, including Florence Welch
RelativesJohn Stockwell (brother)
Alma mater

Evelyn Kathleen Welch MBE (née Samuels; born 1959) is an American-English scholar of the Renaissance and Early Modern Period, and Vice Chancellor of the University of Bristol. Prior to her role as Vice Chancellor, Evelyn was the professor of Renaissance Studies, Provost, and Senior Vice President (Arts & Sciences) at King’s College London.[1] She served as the Interim President and Principal of King's College London from February to June 2021.[2]


Welch was born Evelyn Kathleen Samuels in Boston, Massachusetts, the daughter of Ellen Richards and John S. Samuels III.[3] Her younger brother is actor and film director John Stockwell.[4] She was educated and raised in the United States, before moving to the United Kingdom in 1981. A graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy, Harvard University and of the Warburg Institute, University of London, she has held a professorship as well as the office of Provost for Arts & Sciences at King's College London since October 2016, having previously served as Vice-Principal for Arts & Sciences from 2013.[5][6] Previously, she had been Vice-Principal (Research & International) at Queen Mary University of London, and Pro-Vice Chancellor (Teaching & Learning) at the University of Sussex. She was a member of the Victoria and Albert Museum Board of Trustees from 2012 to 2016, the British Library Advisory Board and is the chair of Trustees of the Dulwich Picture Gallery and the Advisory Board of the Warburg Institute. She specialises in the art of the Italian Renaissance, as well as material culture, on which she has published extensively. Her books include Shopping in the Renaissance: Consumer Cultures in Italy, 1400–1600, a winner of the 2005 Wolfson History Prize.[7] Her current work is on fashion in Renaissance and Early Modern Europe which was funded by the Humanities in the European Research Area (HERA). In 2016, she became a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator award holder for her work on 'Renaissance Skin'. On 22 March 2022, the University of Bristol announced Welch's appointment as the next Vice Chancellor of the university.[8] The first woman appointed to this post, she is due to take up the role on 1 September 2022.[9]

Personal life

In 1982, Samuels married Nicholas Russell "Nick" Welch, an advertising copywriter, then creative director with J. Walter Thompson and Collett Dickenson Pearce in London;[3] the couple divorced around 1999.[10] She is the mother of singer and songwriter Florence Welch, frontwoman of the English rock band Florence and the Machine, and has two other children and three step-children. She is married to Professor Peter Openshaw, an immunologist and professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College London.

Selected works


  1. ^ "King's College London – Professor Evelyn Welch FKC". Kcl.ac.uk. Retrieved 3 July 2018.
  2. ^ "King's appoints Professor Shitij Kapur as new President & Principal". www.kcl.ac.uk. Retrieved 27 October 2020.
  3. ^ a b "James Welch to wed Evelyn Samuels". The New York Times. New York City. 8 August 1982. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
  4. ^ Sellers, John (21 November 2011). "Florence Welch on Her Fear of Treadmills, Lady Gaga, and 'Ceremonials'". Spin. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
  5. ^ "Professor Evelyn Welch". King's College London. 2015. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
  6. ^ "New Vice-Principal for Arts & Sciences at King's". King's College London. 16 October 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
  7. ^ "History Prize: Previous winners". The Wolfson Foundation. 2015. Archived from the original on 23 July 2015. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
  8. ^ Bloch, Ben (22 March 2022). "Professor Evelyn Welch named as Bristol University's first female Vice-Chancellor - and she has a famous daughter". Bristol Live. Retrieved 22 March 2022.
  9. ^ "Professor Evelyn Welch to become University of Bristol's first female Vice-Chancellor". University of Bristol. Retrieved 22 March 2022.
  10. ^ Harris, John (27 February 2010). "The unstoppable rise of Florence Welch". The Guardian.