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Penny Anne Sparke Edit Profile

researcher , writer , history of design educator

Penny Sparke is a British writer and academic specialising in the history of design.


Sparke, Penny Anne was born on November 6, 1948 in London. Daughter of Kenneth Stanley and Jacqueline Anne (Castell) Sparke.


She studied French Literature at Sussex University between 1967 and 1971 and completed her PhD in Design History in 1975.


She taught Design History at Brighton Polytechnic (now The University of Brighton) until 1982 and at the Royal College of Art in London between 1982 and 1999. Sparke has written 15 books about Twentieth-Century Design. She has also curated a number of exhibitions, including The Plastics Age at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London in 1990.

Since 1999 she has also been a Professor of Design History at Kingston University, London. In 2007 Penny Sparke worked as a consultant for Pyrex helping with the communication project for their new cookware range designed by George Sowden. Penny Sparke is a Dean of the Faculty of Art, Design & Music and a Design History Professor at Kingston University in London.

She was previously the Course Director of the V&A Museum/Royal Collee of Art Postgraduate History of Design Programme.


  • Other Interests

    Cinema, theater.


Married John William Small, November 22, 1986. Children: Molly Anne, Nancy Louise and Celia Jane (twins).

Kenneth Stanley Sparke

Jacqueline Anne (Castell) Sparke

John William Small

Molly Anne Sparke

Nancy Louise and Celia Jane Sparke (twins)