1839 Born Shadwell, East London.
1844 Father dies, moves to aunt's in Enfield.
1853 Enters King's School.
1855? Introduced to John Keble, increases his desire to enter the clergy.
1858 Reads the first four volumes of Modern Painters: Ruskin's work awakens an interest in aesthetic criticism.
1858 Enters Queen's College, Oxford on a merit scholarship from King's School.
1862 Having spent too much time on "extracurricular reading," graduates Oxford with only second class honors (A.B. in Literae Humaniores).
1863 Elected to Old Mortality Society (group of undergraduates and other scholars which also includes Swinburne), where he first discusses his aesthetic ideals in four unpublished essays. Advocates his "Aesthetic Hero" during the reading of one of these.
1864 Gains a fellowship at Brasenose College for his scholarship in Greek and German philosophy. Begins a very productive half-decade in which--although he publishes little-- he writes papers which make crucial developments in the solidification of his thinking. These include substitution of art for Christian faith, and building ideas about aesthetics, immortality, and uncertainty of events.
1864 Gives his famous "February 20 Essay". Although the full text of this is unrecorded it is known that the reading contained "anti-Christian" remarks which demonstrate his altered position on the Church. Significantly, this establishes his lifelong pattern of politely bucking the mainstream.
1866 First published essay "Coleridge's Writings" openly declares his earlier replacement of High Church faith with "religion of art".
1867 "Winckelmann" (unsigned).
1868 "Poems by William Morris" (unsigned also).
1869 Publishes "Notes on Leonardo Di Vinci", the first of a series on the Masters in Fortnightly Review which will form the point of commencement for The Renaissance. "A Fragment on Sandro Botticelli" (Aug.'70), "Pico della Mirandola" (Oct.'71), and "Michelangelo" (Nov.'71) follow.
1873 First Edition of Studies in the History of the Renaissance.
1874- Tutors Oscar Wilde at Oxford; develops close friendship with the Great Aesthete.
1883 Resigns Brasenose Tutorship in order to have more time to compose Marius the Epicurean.
1885 Publishes Marius the Epicurean. The protagonist, Pater's "Aesthetic Hero" becomes a model for Aesthetes and Decadents everywhere.
1880's Introduced to Violet Paget (Vernon Lee), one of the few people around whom the shy, reserved Pater is comfortable.
1886 "Literary tea drinking" occurs, representative of the many recurring social gatherings of Pater, Vernon Lee, Henry James, Andrew Lang, Thomas Hardy, and others of note during the decade.
1887 Imaginary Portraits.
1888 Gaston de Latour.
1889 "Appreciations".
1892 "Emerald Uthwart".
1893 Plato and Platonism.
1894 Dies at Oxford.

This chronology is based upon Benson, A.C. Walter Pater. London: MacMillan, 1907. and Monsman, Gerald. Walter Pater. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1977.


Victorian Web Overview Walter Pater

Last modified 1998