Ernest Binfield Havell (1861–1934) is a relatively obscure figure who makes a few brief appearances on the stage of Indian nationalist history in the last decades of the 19th and early decades of the 20th century. A British art educationist with affiliations with South Kensington, London, he came to India in 1884 as the Superintendent of the Madras School of Art and a reporter to the colonial government on the state of art and industries. In 1896, he was appointed Principal of the Calcutta Art School and keeper of the attached Calcutta art gallery. In Calcutta, Havell was to find the freedom to introduce radical changes in Indian art education and, with the assistance of the artist Abanindranath Tagore, to see the establishment of an Indian school of art in alignment with his ideas. In 1906, he had to return to England on sick leave and was later declared medically unfit for service in India. In England, he was to become active in mobilising support for Indian art and an enlightened British art education policy in India, through the founding of the India Society in 1910 and through the authorship of about a dozen books on Indian art and history. Havell’s thrust in all this lay in three major directions: (1) a revaluation of traditional Indic art, establishing a place for it as ‘high art’ in an international canon; (2) a revision of British art education and art patronage policy in India, so as to promote a living but unsupported tradition in Indian arts and crafts; (3) a revitalisation of modern Indian taste and style, leading to indigenous adaptations to modern needs in design, architecture, arts and crafts.