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Professor Michael Mallett (1932-2008)

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Emeritus Professor Michael Mallett on 2 September 2008.

Professor Michael Mallett was a distinguished Renaissance scholar who in his writings and teaching advanced the understanding and knowledge of the Italian Renaissance. Together with Sir John Hale, he founded the Venice programme in 1967 and directed it from 1970-1999.

Profesor Mallett was born in 1932. He went to St Edmund's School, Oxford and from there to Worcester College, Oxford. His DPhil, written under John Hale’s supervision, was on the economic importance of Pisa in the fifteenth century. After a brief period teaching at Eton, he took up a post at the University of Manitoba at Winnipeg. In 1962 he moved to Rome to take up the post of Associate Director of the British School under John Ward-Perkins.

In 1966 Michael Mallett joined the Department of History at Warwick where he remained until his retirement in 1999. The year after his arrival saw the publication of his first substantial monograph, a study of the state-owned Florentine merchant galleys (launched in imitation of the Venetian) which plied between Florence's newly acquired port of Pisa and the northern ports of London and Bruges for much of the fifteenth century. In coming to Warwick he joined a department where his former Oxford supervisor, John Hale, was the Founding Professor, and together in 1967 they launched the Venice Programme for third year historians.

The focus of Professor Mallett's scholarship was on Renaissance warfare and its economic impact, and on the bravura of warfare. His work was anchored in the politics and economics of Renaissance Italy, between the late fourteenth and the early sixteenth centuries.

The British Academy recognised the quality of his work by inviting Professor Mallett to deliver in 1981 the biennial Italian Lecture on 'Diplomacy and War in Later Fifteenth Century Italy', and by awarding him the Serena Medal for Italian Studies. In 1998, an OBE was conferred on him 'for services to the history of the Renaissance' and in Italy he was made 'Commendatore dell'Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana.'