Gladstone Book Prize

Mirror of Portraits of All Sovereigns in the World (Sejō kakkoku shaga teiō kagami), 1879, Yōshū (Hashimoto) Chikanobu, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, public domain


The Gladstone Book Prize was launched in 1998 following a founding donation from the Gladstone Memorial Trust on the centenary of William Gladstone’s death. The prize offers an annual award of £1,000 for a work of history on a topic not primarily related to British history that is the author’s first sole book publication. In 2015, the Linbury Trust made a generous donation of £12,500 in support of the Gladstone Prize.

Submissions for the 2022 Gladstone Book Prize are now open. Please apply via the RHS Prize Applications portal, selecting the prize for which you wish to enter during the application process. The closing date for the Gladstone Prize is: 31 December 2021.


Eligibility for the Gladstone Book Prize

To be eligible for consideration for the prize, the book must:

  • be its author’s first solely written history book;
  • be on any historical subject that is not primarily related to British or Irish history;
  • be an original and scholarly work of historical research by an author who received their doctoral degree from a British or Irish university;
  • have been published in English during the calendar year 2021 (for the 2022 award).

Only printed and e-books bearing a 2021 copyright date are eligible for consideration in the current round. Books issued by publishers in the final weeks of 2021, which bear a copyright date of 2022, will be eligible for nomination in the 2022 awards.

Books nominated for the Gladstone Prize may include those which focus on Atlantic World, British Imperial, and trans-national contexts for British and Irish history. However, books focused on all other aspects of British and Irish history should be entered for the Society’s Whitfield Book Prize. The Chair of the Gladstone Prize Committee will make the final decision as to the eligibility of each submitted volume. The Chairs of the Gladstone Prize Committee and the Whitfield Prize Committee will together decide which competition is most appropriate for any books falling between the criteria for each prize.

Notes for publishers submitting to the Gladstone Book Prize, 2022

  • Publishers are invited to nominate books published in 2021 for the 2022 award. (Please note: authors cannot submit their own work.)
  • The RHS welcomes eligible submissions from the widest possible range of publishers: this includes university presses, commercial publishers of all scales, and non-UK publishers when publishing the first scholarly work by a historian with a doctorate from a UK or Irish university
  • A maximum of 6 books may be submitted by any publisher. In selecting your nominations, publishers are asked to follow the Society’s recommendations in our 2018 reports on Race, Ethnicity & Equality and Gender Equality: books submitted should reflect the diversity of those working in the discipline and of their chosen areas of research.
  • Publishers are asked to ensure submissions comply with the eligibility requirements. Any questions may be sent to:

Timetable for submissions

  • Submissions for the 2022 Prize open: 1 September 2021. All submissions are via the RHS Prize Applications Portal.
  • Closing date for entries for the 2022 Prize: 31 December 2021.

To complete the submission per title, publishers are required submit one copy (non-returnable) of the eligible book by 31 December 2021. Books should be sent to the: Membership and Office Administrator, Royal Historical Society, University College London, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT. Should the book be short-listed, two further copies will be required.

All enquiries about the Prize should be addressed to the RHS. Please contact the Membership and Administration Officer at:


Winner of the Gladstone Book Prize, 2021

The Gladstone Prize for 2021 was awarded to Tom Stammers for The Purchase of the Past: Collecting Culture in Post-Revolutionary Paris, c.1790-1890 (Cambridge University Press, 2020).

Judges’ citation:

In this erudite survey of the culture of collecting in post-Revolutionary Paris, Tom Stammers demonstrates how the private trade and acquisition of historical artefacts was used to access and (re)imagine the recent French past. Exploring the complicated relationships between private collectors, public institutions, and the various post-revolutionary regimes, the book exposes the vital role played by material culture in the construction and contestation of historical consciousness in this tumultuous era.

Much like the nineteenth century collectors who are the subject of his book, Stammers has gone to impressive lengths to track, collate and display a wealth of evidence in support of his arguments. The result is a richly detailed and fascinating study that ranges widely in terms of chronology, historical actors, and type of artefact.

Shortlist of 8 books for the 2021 Gladstone Prize and Author Videos.
List of previous Gladstone Book Prize Winners