SOAS University of London

Department of the History of Art and Archaeology, School of Arts

Dr Crispin Branfoot

BA (Manchester), MA, PhD (London)
  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Expertise
  • Publications


Crispin Branfoot
Department of History of Art and Archaeology, School of Arts

Reader in the History of South Asian Art & Archaeology

SOAS South Asia Institute

Academic Staff, SOAS South Asia Institute

Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies


Centre of Jaina Studies

Member, Centre of Jaina Studies

REF Steering Group

Academic Representative

Dr Crispin Branfoot
Email address:
020 7898 4450
SOAS University of London
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
Brunei Gallery
Office No:
Academic Support Hours:
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Dr Branfoot studied Ancient History and Archaeology at Manchester University (BA), and Art & Archaeology at SOAS (MA, PhD). Before joining SOAS in 2006 he was a senior research fellow in South Asian Art and Architecture at De Montfort University in Leicester (2000-5) and museum assistant in the Departments of Eastern Art at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford and Oriental Antiquities at the British Museum in London.


Programmes Convened
Modules Taught
PhD Students supervised
  • Jasdip Singh Dhillon, Changes beyond the surface: Tracking the relationship between paper-making and human change in the Indus river basin region from 1000-1947 through a study of historical paper specimens
  • Maeve Nolan, Early Silk Road photography: A case study of how and why Dr. Maynard Owen Williams, Litt. D. (1888-1963) photographed the Silk Road during the Citroen-Haardt Trans-Asiatic Expedition (1931-1932)
  • Saachi Sood, Mahabharata Painting in the Punjab Hills: A Study at the courts of Kangra, Guler and Garhwal
  • Jahanara Saigol - Ornament in Lahore: Jahangir, Maryam Zamani and the Mughal language of ornament
Former PhD Students
  • Yashaswini Chandra (2011) - Sacred Change: Material Heritage in Cultural Negotiations in the Western Himalayas
  • Anais da Fonseca (2016) - Continuity and Change in Contemporary Cherial Paintings from Telangana, India
  • Emma Martin (2014) - Charles Bell's collection of 'curios': negotiating Tibetan material culture on the Anglo-Tibetan borderlands (1900-1945


Current Research

My research examines the arts of southern India from the fourteenth to twentieth centuries, the period encompassed by the Vijayanagara Empire, the Nayaka successor states and the establishment of colonial authority. Many of my publications have addressed the architecture, sculpture and religious culture of the Hindu temples of the Tamil region. More recent work has addressed the histories of archaeology, photography and conservation of religious architecture in south India in the 19th and early 20th centuries.


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Available for
  • TV
  • Radio
  • Press
  • Briefings
  • Special Study Programmes
  • Short Term Consultancy
  • Long Term Consultancy
Regional Expertise
  • South Asia
Country Expertise
  • India


Authored Books

Venkatesan, Archana and Branfoot, Crispin (2015) In Andal's Garden: Art, Ornament and Devotion in Srivilliputtur. Mumbai: Marg Publications.

Taylor, Roger and Branfoot, Crispin (2014) Captain Linnaeus Tripe: Photographer of India and Burma, 1852-1860. Washington D.C.: National Gallery of Art and Prestel Publishing.

Branfoot, Crispin (2007) Gods on the Move: Architecture and Ritual in the South Indian Temple. London: British Academy & Society for South Asian Studies.


Prizeman, Oriel and Branfoot, Crispin and Rao, Kailash and Hardy, Adam (2019) 'Proposing Digital Models For The Discussion Of Contested Conservation Practice: Case Studies From Tamil Nadu, India'. ISPRS Annals of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing Spatial Information Science, (IV-2/W), pp 133-140.

Branfoot, Crispin (2015) 'The Tamil gopura: from temple gateway to global icon'. Ars Orientalis, (45), pp 78-112.

Branfoot, Crispin (2013) 'Remaking the past: Tamil sacred landscape and temple renovations'. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, (76) 1, pp 21-47.

Branfoot, Crispin (2013) 'The Great Chola Temples: Tanjavur, Gangaikondacolapuram and Darasuram'. Sahapedia.

Branfoot, Crispin (2012) 'Dynastic genealogies, portraiture and the place of the past in early modern South India'. Artibus Asiae, (72) 2, pp 323-376.

Branfoot, Crispin (2008) 'Imperial Frontiers: Building Sacred Space in Sixteenth-century South India'. The Art Bulletin, (90) 2, pp 171-194.

Branfoot, Crispin (2007) 'Painting Processions: a Company album from south India'. Orientations, (38) 8, pp 73-78.

Branfoot, Crispin (2006) 'Processions and Presence: Bronze Sculptures from the Temples of Southern India'. Arts of Asia, (36) 5, pp 61-72.

Branfoot, Crispin and Dallapiccola, Anna L. (2005) 'Temple architecture in Bhatkal and the Ramayana tradition in coastal Karnataka'. Artibus Asiae, (65) 2, pp 253-308.

Branfoot, Crispin (2004) 'The Madurai Nayakas and the Skanda temple at Tirupparankundram'. Ars Orientalis, (33), pp 146-179.

Branfoot, Crispin (2002) '‘Expanding Form’: The Architectural Sculpture of the South Indian Temple c.1500-1700'. Artibus Asiae, (62) 2, pp 189-245.

Branfoot, Crispin (2002) 'Bhima and Purusamirukam in the Nayaka-period Sculpture of Tamilnadu'. South Asian Studies, (18), pp 77-82.

Branfoot, Crispin (2001) 'Mangammal of Madurai and South Indian Portraiture'. East and West, (51) 3-4, pp 369-377.

Branfoot, Crispin (2001) 'Tirumala Nayaka's 'New Hall' and the European Study of the South Indian Temple'. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, (11) 2, pp 191-218.

Branfoot, Crispin (2000) 'Royal Portrait Sculpture in the South Indian Temple'. South Asian Studies, (16), pp 11-36.

Branfoot, Crispin (2000) 'Approaching the Temple in Nayaka-period Madurai: the Kutal Alakar temple'. Artibus Asiae, (60) 2, pp 197-221.

Branfoot, Crispin (1995) 'Burmese Nats: Wooden Sculpture from the Richard C. Temple Collection'. Eastern Art Report, (4) 2, pp 34-36.

Edited Books or Journals

Branfoot, Crispin, (ed.), (2018) Portraiture in South Asia since the Mughals: Art, Representation and History. London: I.B. Tauris.

Branfoot, Crispin, (ed.), (2015) Traditional Arts of South Asia: Continuity in Contemporary Practice and Patronage. London: Saffron Books.

Branfoot, Crispin and Barnes, Ruth, (eds.), (2006) Pilgrimage: The Sacred Journey. Oxford: Ashmolean Museum.

Book Chapters

Branfoot, Crispin (2022) 'The Mandapam in Nayaka South India'. In: Mason, Darielle, (ed.), Storied Stone: Reframing the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s South Indian Temple Hall. Philadelphia, New Haven & London: Philadelphia Museum of Art in association with Yale University Press, pp 82-93.

Branfoot, Crispin (2020) 'Power, Processions and the Festival Architecture of the Tamil temple'. In: Albery, Henry and Hartmann, Jens-Uwe and Prabha Ray, Himanshu, (eds.), Power, Presence and Space: South Asian Rituals in Archaeological Context. New Delhi: Routledge, pp 164-187.

Branfoot, Crispin (2019) 'Temple Renovation and Chettiar Patronage in Colonial Madras Presidency'. In: Garimella, Annapurna and Sridharan, Shriya and Srivathsan, A, (eds.), The Contemporary Hindu Temple: Fragments for a History. Mumbai: Marg, pp 22-35.

Branfoot, Crispin (2018) 'Heroic Rulers and Devoted Servants: Performing Kingship in the Tamil Temple'. In: Branfoot, Crispin, (ed.), Portraiture in South Asia since the Mughals: art, representation and history. London: I.B. Tauris, pp 165-197.

Branfoot, Crispin (2018) 'Introduction: Portraiture in South Asia'. In: Branfoot, Crispin, (ed.), Portraiture in South Asia since the Mughals: art, representation and history. London: I.B. Tauris, pp 1-32.

Branfoot, Crispin (2017) 'Making Space for the Sacred: Hindu Art and Material Religion'. In: Bailey, Greg, (ed.), Hinduism in India: The Early Period. New Delhi: Sage, pp 179-207.

Branfoot, Crispin (2015) 'Temple sculpture in colonial Madurai: The reconsecration of the Minakshi-Sundareshvara temple in the 1870s'. In: Verghese, Anila and Dallapiccola, Anna L., (eds.), Art, Icon and Architecture in South Asia: Essays in Honour of Devangana Desai. New Delhi: Aryan Books International, pp 277-292.

Branfoot, Crispin (2013) 'Imperial Memory: the Vijayanagara Legacy in the Art of the Tamil Nayakas'. In: Verghese, Anila, (ed.), Krishnadevaraya and His Times. Mumbai: K R Cama Oriental Institute, pp 316-344.

Branfoot, Crispin and Dallapiccola, Anna L. (2012) 'Bhatkal's Ramayana Panels'. In: Michell, George, (ed.), Kanara, A Land Apart: The Artistic Heritage of Coastal Karnataka. Mumbai: Marg Publications, pp 58-65.

Branfoot, Crispin (2011) 'In a Land of Kings: donors, elites and temple sculpture'. In: Dallapiccola, Anna L. and Verghese, Anila, (eds.), South India under Vijayanagara: Art and Archaeology. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, pp 249-262.

Branfoot, Crispin (2011) 'Minaksi's wedding: painting the sacred marriage in early modern Madurai'. In: Dallapiccola, Anna L., (ed.), Indian Painting: The Lesser Known Traditions. New Delhi: Niyogi Publications, pp 172-189.

Branfoot, Crispin (2010) 'Iconography and Images: Art'. In: Jacobsen, Knut A., (ed.), Brill Encyclopaedia of Hinduism, Vol. II: Texts, Rituals, Arts, Concepts. Leiden: Brill, pp 536-550.

Branfoot, Crispin (2007) 'South Asia and the Himalayas'. In: Contadini, Anna, (ed.), Objects of Instruction: Treasures of the School of Oriental and African Studies. London: SOAS, pp 68-74.

Branfoot, Crispin (2007) 'Regional Pasts, Imperial Present: architecture and memory in Vijayanagara-period Karnataka'. In: Hardy, Adam, (ed.), The Temple in South Asia. London: British Association for South Asian Studies, pp 105-125.

Branfoot, Crispin (2006) 'Where on Earth is South Asia? Indian art and UK universities'. In: Tatlock, Janet, (ed.), 21st Century Art History - Global Reception. Brighton: Association of Art Historians, pp 11-15.

Branfoot, Crispin (2006) 'Pilgrimage in South Asia: Crossing Boundaries of Space and Faith'. In: Branfoot, Crispin and Barnes, Ruth, (eds.), Pilgrimage: The Sacred Journey. Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, pp 44-79.

Branfoot, Crispin and Allan, James W. (2006) 'Travellers of Faith: Pilgrim Tales'. In: Branfoot, Crispin and Barnes, Ruth, (eds.), Pilgrimage: The Sacred Journey. Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, pp 96-115.

Branfoot, Crispin (1999) 'Tiruchirappalli and the Sacred Island of Srirangam'. In: Michell, George, (ed.), Eternal Kaveri: Historical Sites Along South India's Greatest River. Bombay: Marg Publications, pp 75-88.

Book Reviews

Branfoot, Crispin (2017) 'Review of: Dehejia, Vidya, and Peter Rockwell. The Unfinished: Stone Carvers at Work on the Indian Subcontinent. New Delhi: Roli Books, 2016'. The Art Bulletin, (99) 3, pp 170-172.

Branfoot, Crispin (2017) 'Architecture and Cultural Translation on India's Deccan Frontier’ Review of Eaton, Richard M., and Phillip B. Wagoner. Power, Memory, Architecture: Contested Sites on India’s Deccan Plateau, 1300-1600. Oxford University Press, 2013.'. Art History, (40) 3, pp 678-680.

Branfoot, Crispin (2016) 'Review of: Tamara I. Sears. Worldly Gurus and Spiritual Kings: Architecture and Asceticism in Medieval India. (Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 2014).'. The Burlington Magazine, (158) 1354.

Branfoot, Crispin (2016) 'Review of: George Michell, Late Temple Architecture in India, 15th to 19th Centuries: Continuities, Revivals, Appropriations, and Innovations. New Delhi: Oxford University Press (2015)'. Transactions of the Ancient Monuments Society, (60), pp 146-148.

Branfoot, Crispin (2015) 'Review: Adam Hardy, translations from Sanskrit by Mattia Salvini. Theory and Practice of Temple Architecture in Medieval India: Bhoja's Samaranganasutradhara and the Bhojpur Line Drawings. New Delhi: Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts and Dev Publishers, 2015.'. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, (26) 3, pp 520-522.

Branfoot, Crispin (2013) 'Review of Archana Verma, 'Temple Imagery from Early Mediaeval Peninsular India' (2012)'. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, (76) 3, pp 534-535.

Branfoot, Crispin (2012) 'Jennifer Howes, Illustrating India: The Early Colonial Investigations of Colin Mackenzie (1784-1821)(2010)'. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, (75) 1, pp 179-181.

Branfoot, Crispin (2012) 'Jean Deloche, A Study in Nayaka-period Social Life: Tiruppudaimarudur Paintings and Carvings, EFEO 2011'. Journal of the American Oriental Society, (132) 3, pp 512-514.

Branfoot, Crispin (2010) 'Anna Jackson and Amin Jaffer, eds. Maharaja: The Splendour of India's Royal Courts'. Arts of Asia, (40) 3, pp 143-147.

Branfoot, Crispin (2009) 'Indian Islamic Architecture: Forms and Typologies, Sites and Monuments by John Burton-Page, edited by George Michell (2008)'. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, (72) 1, pp 191-192.

Branfoot, Crispin (2009) 'Vijayanagara: Splendour in Ruins, edited by George Michell (2008)'. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, (72) 1, pp 189-191.

Branfoot, Crispin (2008) 'Ebba Koch: The Complete Taj Mahal and the Riverfront Gardens of Agra.'. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, (71) 1, pp 133-134.

Branfoot, Crispin (2008) 'Indian Temple Sculpture by John Guy (2007)'. Arts of Asia, (38) 1, pp 130-131.

Branfoot, Crispin (2006) 'Hindu Arms and Ritual: Arms and Armour from India 1400–1865. By Robert Elgood.'. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, (16) 1, pp 95-96.

Branfoot, Crispin (2003) 'The Courts of Precolonial South India: Material Culture and Kingship by Jennifer Howes (2003)'. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, (66) 3, pp 512-513.

Branfoot, Crispin (2003) 'Encyclopaedia of Indian Temple Architecture: South India, Drāviḍadeśa, Later Phase c. AD 1289-1798 edited by George Michell, (2001)'. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, (66) 1, pp 105-107.

Branfoot, Crispin (2002) 'Hindu Art & Architecture by George Michell (2000)'. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, (12) 1, pp 111-112.

Branfoot, Crispin (2001) 'Indian Architectural Theory: Contemporary Uses of Vastu Vidya by Vibhuti Chakrabarti (1998)'. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, (11) 2, pp 300-302.

Branfoot, Crispin (2001) 'The New Cambridge History of India: Architecture and Art of the Deccan Sultanates. By George Michell and Mark Zebrowski.'. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, (11) 1, pp 91-93.

Branfoot, Crispin (2000) 'The Religious Imagery of Khajuraho by Devangana Desai (1996)'. South Asian Studies, (16) 1, pp 151-152.

Branfoot, Crispin (2000) 'Religious Traditions at Vijayanagara as Revealed Through its Monuments by Anila Verghese (1995) & Sculpture at Vijayanagara: Iconography and Style by Anna L. Dallapiccola & Anila Verghese (1998)'. South Asian Studies, (16) 1, pp 152-153.

Branfoot, Crispin (1999) 'Indian Art Worlds in Contention: Local, Regional and National Discourses on Orissan Patta Paintings, by Helle Bundgaard (1999)'. South Asia Research, (19), pp 198-200.


This list was last generated on Friday, 1st July 2022, 19:55 Europe/London.