Gilbert Redgrave was born in London in 1844, son of the painter Richard Redgrave. He was educated at Chester Training College, King’s College London and then the schools of the Royal Academy. He trained as an architectural draughtsman, worked with Scott on the Royal Albert Hall and was involved in a number of other projects. He was architectural adviser to the Royal Commissioners for the Paris Exhibition of 1878. From 1884, he worked as an inspector of schools, rising to become chief senior inspector for technical schools, and then, in 1900, Assistant Secretary to the Board of Education. Redgrave edited his father’s writings and addresses and also wrote a number of books about art history.
However Redgrave is most remembered for his interest in bibliography. He served as president of the Bibliographical Society for 1907-1908 and subsequently as vice-president. It was through the Society that he became involved in a project to produce an authoritative list and brief description (or “short title catalogue”) of all English books published before 1640. This eventually came out in 1926 and is often referred to by the names of its two principal authors: Pollard and Redgrave.
Redgrave died at Abinger Common near Dorking, Surrey, in 1941.