Drawing on objects from across the Center’s collections, this exhibition focuses on the experience of prisoners in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and the structures that confined them. Featuring iconic representations of life under lock and key by Sir Joshua Reynolds, Joseph Wright of Derby, George Romney, and Francis Wheatley, these images were conceived at a time when prisons were coming under intense scrutiny.
This exhibition will also include prison ephemera, cell keys, and a collection of mugshots from the Nottingham House of Correction, as well as a photographic record of the West Riding Prison and its officers from the 1880s. Taken together, the representations of both prisons and prisoners in this exhibition will aid to illustrate the historical thinking about justice, imprisonment, and punishment.
Captive Bodies: British Prisons, 1750–1900 has been organized and curated at the Center by Courtney Skipton Long, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Art Collections.