Three main concerns animate my research. First, viewer interactions with ancient and modern sculpture and painting in the new Victorian contexts of art museums, International Exhibitions, and emergent consumer and sporting cultures in Britain and Australia. Second, the depiction of race, class, gender and sexuality in British biblical and classical subject painting c.1865-1912. Finally, the relationship between art, labour and new technologies in the long nineteenth century.
My first book, Greece and Rome at the Crystal Palace: Classical Sculpture and Modern Britain, 1854-1936, was published by Oxford University Press in 2015. It examines the social, political, and aesthetic role of ancient Greek and Roman sculpture in modern Britain, the first in-depth assessment of how classical art figured in debates over design reform, taste, beauty and morality, class and gender, and race and imperialism.
I’m currently co-editing two collections, which are both due out with Manchester University Press in 2016; After 1851: The Material and Visual Cultures of the Crystal Palace at Sydenham with Sarah Victoria Turner (Paul Mellon Centre), and Art Versus Industry? New perspectives on Visual and Industrial Cultures in Nineteenth-Century Britain with Rebecca Wade (Henry Moore Institute) and Gabriel Williams (York).
As Birmingham Fellow, I’ll be starting a new research project provisionally entitled 'Birmingham to Ballarat: Visualising Antiquity in Global Victorian Cultures'. This traces the global and imperial contexts of the making, collection, and public reception of Victorian painting. It focuses on a selection of paintings depicting biblical and classical antiquity, made between the mid-1860s and 1900, and housed since the 1870s in public institutions in Britain and Australia.