Dr Kate Nichols

Photograph of Dr Kate Nichols

Department of Art History, Curating and Visual Studies
Birmingham Fellow

Contact details

Address
The Barber Institute of Fine Arts
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston
Birmingham
B15 2TT
UK

I am an art historian of Britain and the British Empire between c.1815-1920.

Qualifications

  • BA Classical Studies (Bristol)
  • MSt Greek/Roman History (Oxford)
  • PhD Classical Reception Studies (Birkbeck College, London)

Biography

I came to Birmingham from Centre for Research in Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH, Cambridge), where I was a postdoctoral research fellow on the European Research Council Funded project 'The Bible and Antiquity in Nineteenth-­Century Culture'. I studied for my PhD in the School of History, Classics and Archaeology at Birkbeck College London (2009). Since then, I have been a Henry Moore Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Bristol's Institute for Greece, Rome and the Classical Tradition; Teaching Fellow in the History of Art at the University of York; Postdoctoral Fellow at the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, and Teaching Fellow in Classics and Ancient History at the University of Bristol.

Teaching

Art and the Industrial Revolution.

Postgraduate supervision

I welcome enquiries from prospective postgraduate students hoping to undertake research relating to my research and teaching interests.

Research

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.

Other activities

With Susanne Turner (curator, Museum of Classical Archaeology, Cambridge) I am organising ‘Bad Taste and the Antique’, one in a series of colloquia on the topic of ‘taste’ to be held in London, Reading, Oxford and Cambridge in 2017/18 as part of the Europe-wide ‘Winckelmann jubilee’ celebrations organised by the Winckelmann-Gesellschaft of Stendal.

Since 2015 I have been working with the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge to develop an LGBT history month trail through their collections. I initiated this undertaking and gave a talk, 'Looking for LGBT history at the Fitzwilliam Museum' in February 2016. I will be involved in this project as it develops.

I am also a mentor for the careers service's LGBT student mentoring scheme.

Publications

Book (single authored)

  • Greece and Rome at the Crystal Palace. Classical Sculpture and Modern Britain, 1854-1936 (Oxford University Press, 2015)

Articles in refereed journals

  • ‘Arthur Hacker’s ‘Syrinx’ (1892): Paint, Classics and the Culture of Rape’, Feminist Theory, 17.1 (forthcoming 2016)

Edited Collections

  • Kate Nichols, Rebecca Wade, and Gabriel Williams (eds), Art vs. Industry? New perspectives on Visual and Industrial Cultures in Nineteenth-Century Britain (Manchester University Press, 2016)
  • Kate Nichols and Sarah Victoria Turner (eds), After 1851: The Material and Visual Cultures of the Crystal Palace at Sydenham (Manchester University Press, 2016)

Essays in edited collections

  • Kate Nichols and Sarah Victoria Turner, ‘ “What is to become of the Crystal Palace?” The Crystal Palace after 1851’, in Kate Nichols and Sarah Victoria Turner (eds), After 1851: The Material and Visual Cultures of the Crystal Palace at Sydenham (Manchester University Press, forthcoming 2016)
  • Kate Nichols, ‘ “[M]anly beauty and muscular strength”: sculpture, sport and the nation at the Crystal Palace, 1854-1918’, in Kate Nichols and Sarah Victoria Turner (eds), After 1851: The Material and Visual Cultures of the Crystal Palace at Sydenham (Manchester University Press, forthcoming 2016)
  • Kate Nichols and Rebecca Wade, ‘Art versus Industry? An introduction’ in Kate Nichols, Rebecca Wade, and Gabriel Williams (eds), Art vs. Industry? New perspectives on Visual and Industrial Cultures in Nineteenth-Century Britain (Manchester University Press, forthcoming 2016)
  • ‘Marbles for the Masses – the Elgin Marbles at the Crystal Palace’, in V. Coltman (ed.), Making Sense of Greek Art. Ancient Visual Culture and its Receptions (Exeter University Press, 2012), 179-201
  • ‘Art and commodity: sculpture under glass at the Crystal Palace’, in J. Welchman (ed.), Sculpture and the Vitrine (Ashgate, 2013), 23-46

Reviews

  • ‘Review of Amy Woodson-Boulton, Transformative Beauty: Art Museums in Industrial Britain’, Visual Culture in Britain, 15/3 (2014), 369-371
  • ‘Review of Elizabeth Prettejohn, The Modernity of Ancient Sculpture: Greek Sculpture and Modern Art from Winckelmann to Picasso’, Journal of Hellenic Studies, 134 (2014), 260-1