An historian of modern British history from 1800 to 2000 and a trustee of the Wolfson Foundation.
He is Dodge Professor of History at Princeton University, a Visiting Professor of History at the University of Oxford, the editor of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, and became President of the British Academy in July 2017. He has previously taught at the University of Cambridge and Columbia University, New York.
He was Director and Professor of History at the Institute of Historical Research from 1998-2003. He is a Fellow of the British Academy, the Royal Society of Literature, the Society of Antiquaries and the Royal Historical Society.
In 2009 he was awarded a knighthood for services to scholarship.
His publications include Margaret Thatcher: ‘A Life And Legacy’ (2017), ‘The Undivided Past: Humanity Beyond our Differences’ (2012), ‘Mellon: An American Life’ (2006), ‘Ornamentalism: How the British Saw Their Empire’ (2001), ‘Class in Britain’ (1998), and ‘The Decline and Fall of the British Aristocracy’ (1990).
He has contributed to many national bodies in heritage and the arts, including the National Portrait Gallery, English Heritage, Westminster Abbey, the Victorian Society, Royal Academy Trust and the Library of Birmingham Trust.