This project analyses the role of classical visual culture in nineteenth-century industrial Britain, focussing on Birmingham. It examines how this town engaged with the iconography and traditions of ancient Greece and Rome through public collecting practices, architecture and artistic production, and situates this within wider contexts of nineteenth-century industrial Britain.
My research asks: How was classical antiquity displayed throughout Birmingham in the nineteenth century? What impact did the visual culture of Greece and Rome have on the formation of civic identity, both in relation to viewing experiences and concerns surrounding the potential edifying role of art and architecture? How far was Birmingham representative of other industrial towns in Britain in its appropriation of antiquity? And to what extent was this appropriation symptomatic of broader uses and interpretations of the ancient world?
My research challenges understandings of classical culture within Victorian Britain, specifically in the West Midlands, firstly in bringing visual culture into focus, and secondly in providing new perspectives through its relationship with the industrial city. In its interdisciplinary approach, my methodology engages with the scholarship of Classical Reception, Victorian Studies, Art History and Museology. Exploring the role of classical culture against a background of immense social and cultural change, I analyse how the ancient was viewed and experienced, and how it was engaged with as public cultural property.
- Relationships between art and industry
- Histories of collecting
- Classical art and gender studies
- Reception of classical antiquity
- Victorian cultural studies
- Nineteenth-century British art
- History of sculpture
- Exhibitions and museum history
- Architecture and public spaces
- Museums and the Heritage Sector
- University Outreach and Widening Participation