Awardees | 2020
Between 1876 and 1888, Lord Frederic Leighton distributed his “Technical Forms of Procedure” among the associates and academicians of the Royal Academy in order to record their materials and technique. While at the museum, Anna Don, PhD candidate of the conservation of easel paintings, Hamilton Kerr Institute, University of Cambridge, examined a selection of paintings by artists who contributed to the “Technical Forms.” The information gleaned from the paintings themselves was then considered in light of what these artists chose to include and omit in documenting their materials and technique.
Curator of nineteenth-century furniture in the department of furniture, textiles, and fashion, Victoria and Albert Museum, Max Donnelly was 2020’s curatorial exchange scholar from the V&A. As a member of the curatorial concept team developing the V&A’s new international nineteenth-century galleries, he is a co-curator of the Art and Industry gallery. While at the museum, he explored some of the gallery’s projected themes by drawing on a wide range of resources, from technical manuals, trade cards, and advertisements in the rare books and manuscripts collection to representations of industry and the effects of industrialization in the paintings, sculpture, and prints and drawings collections.
Molly Duggins, Lecturer, department of art history and theory, National Art School, Sydney, examined the ubiquitous nineteenth-century album, which was a significant repository for a globalizing visual culture that was shaped by colonial expansion, maritime trade, scientific exploration, and industrial development. Composite artifacts, albums mapped the expanding world through the arrangement of drawings, prints, photographs, souvenirs, textiles, craftwork, and natural specimens culled from across the empire. They were also anchored in locality, materializing the microgeography of the environments in which they were compiled. Duggins’s project demonstrated that the album not only played a critical role in networking visual and material narratives of British culture throughout the colonies but also provided an intimate medium to assess the colonial landscape and mediate cross-cultural exchange.
Michal Goldschmidt, PhD candidate, history of art and architecture department, Brown University, analyzed how mass-produced printed materials such as travel guides and photographs stressed the differences and cultural identity of Arabs for Westerners wishing to explore Palestine in his research project, “Palestine in Print: Power, Planning, and Propaganda.” This fundamental node of a colonial or orientalizing mindset shaped the way subsequent British travelers and administrators toured, experienced, built, and (sometimes) demolished the physical environment of Jerusalem and its surroundings after the First World War.
Jonathan King, PhD candidate, history of art, University of York; AHRC Scholar; aimed to reinvigorate our understanding of these Bloomsbury artists by exploring their work outside of the group’s literary canon, considering class, queerness, and the concept of a camp modernist aesthetic through his research project, “‘A Bit Frivolous’? Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant, and the Charleston Camp.” While at the YCBA, King examined important manuscripts regarding Bell and Grant’s joint enterprises in the interwar period, as well as specific artworks by the artists and their contemporaries.
Sean Kramer, PhD candidate, history of art department, University of Michigan, investigated a number of paintings of this subject by Elizabeth Thompson (Lady Butler) vis-a-vis larger discourses on masculinity and empire through his research project, “Nineteenth-century Depictions of British Colonial and Domestic Wars.” Kramer examined rare books, prints, and drawings to bolster his understanding of British visual representations of wars in Afghanistan, one of the main subjects taken up by Butler, during his residency. To situate his study within a broader context, Kramer also looked at nineteenth-century depictions of the British military more broadly.
Jennifer Tucker, professor of history, Wesleyan University, addressed the significance of the nineteenth-century alkali industry in relation to key developments in Victorian art and visual culture, environmental law, history and theory of photography, social reform, medicine, and public health through her research project, “Dangerous Exposures: Chemical Work and Waste in the Victorian Alkali Trades.” Tucker examined how photography emerged in the nineteenth century as both a new mode of documenting chemical pollution and a technological process that was itself the product of a chemical industry that produced chemical waste and photographic pollution.
Sean Willcock, Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at Birkbeck, University of London, researched the aesthetics of violence under modernity. The nineteenth century witnessed a major transformation in attitudes concerning the relationship between art and violence, in particular geopolitical violence, but the scope and significance of this shift have remained largely unexplored. His research maps the feedback loops that developed between images and violence, tracking how such loops structured interactions both within and across boundaries of nation, race, class, gender, and—with the emergence of animal rights—species. Willcock’s research assessed the agency of aesthetic practices in shaping modern political and ethical consciousness.