LONDON (AP) _ Sir John Hale, a Renaissance historian and former chairman of trustees at the National Gallery, who once said his greatest pleasure was looking at works of art, has died. He was 75.

Hale, who lost his ability to speak and write after suffering a severe stroke in 1992, died Thursday, his family said. The cause of death was not announced.

Hale's academic career _ at Oxford University, Warwick University and finally at University College, London _ largely reflected his love of Renaissance Italy.

He published ``England and the Italian Renaissance'' in 1954, ``Renaissance War Studies'' in 1982 and ``Artists and Warfare in the Renaissance'' in 1990.

``The Renaissance is the period and Italy the place I feel most at home in imaginatively, and the topic I keep coming back to as the greatest stimulus to thinking about the past is warfare,'' he told Contemporary Authors. ``Extra-curricularly, my greatest pleasure is derived from looking at works of art.''

Hale completed the manuscript for ``The Civilization of Europe in the Renaissance'' shortly before his stroke. His wife, Sheila, saw the project through with the help of his academic colleagues.

The book was honored with the Royal Society of Literature Award and the Time-Life Silver Pen Award.

Hale was chairman of the trustees of the National Gallery from 1974 to 1980 and a trustee of the Victoria and Albert Museum from 1984 to 1988.

Despite the devastating effects of his stroke, Hale continued to travel, including a first visit to Russia, and to attend lectures, exhibitions and parties.

In 1994, The Evening Standard newspaper wrote: ``He was famous for brilliance and the most beguiling charm. He had unsuspected talents: he could make a toothsome steak and oyster suet pudding; he could row a gondola. Since his illness, the brilliance has been in abeyance but the charm is triumphant.''

Hale is survived by his wife, their son and two daughters and a son from his first marriage. Funeral arrangements were not announced.