Guests braved the great St Valentine's Day storm of 2014 to celebrate the offical launch of Art of Merit: Studies in Buddhist Art and its Conservation (Archetype Publications, 2014), edited by The Courtauld's David Park, Kuenga Wangmo and Sharon Cather.


Buddhist art – its nature, creation, function, conservation and contemporary manifestations – was the subject of the Buddhist Art Forum, a major conference held at The Courtauld Institute of Art in 2012 and sponsored by The Robert H.N. Ho Family Foundation. For the first time a representative group of those with a stake in Buddhist art – including art historians, conservators, curators and officials, a monk from Nepal and a contemporary artist – was gathered to address these issues. 


The resulting ground-breaking volume has now been published by Archetype Publications. Its twenty-eight papers consider Buddhist art from the earliest Indian stupas to contemporary Himalayan thangkas, as well as its ritual use and audience, its tourist consumption in expanding economies, its often ill-conceived conservation, and its influence on modern and contemporary western art.


A stimulating range of viewpoints is expressed in this lavishly illustrated volume, making a genuine contribution to the awareness and understanding of these issues and developments that goes beyond regional and specialist boundaries


Dr Joanna Cannon's new book launched at the courtauld


The Courtauld’s lobby was packed on the evening of 30 January with guests celebrating the official launch of Dr Joanna Cannon’s new book, Religious Poverty, Visual Riches: art in the Dominican churches of central Italy in the thirteen and fourteenth centuries (Yale University Press, 2014). Fittingly, Dr Cannon and many of those celebrating the launch were dressed in black and white – the colour of the Dominican habit.

Dr Cannon’s book explains that the Dominicans were committed to a life of poverty, yet their churches contained many visual riches. Works by supreme practitioners—Cimabue, Duccio, Giotto, and Simone Martini—are examined in a wider Dominican context. The contents of major foundations—Siena, Pisa, Perugia, and Santa Maria Novella in Florence—are studied alongside less well-known centers. For the first time, these frescoes and panel paintings are brought together with illuminated choir books, carved crucifixes, goldsmith's work, tombs, and stained glass. At the heart of the book is the Dominicans' evolving relationship with the laity, expressed at first by the partitioning of their churches, and subsequently by the sharing of space, and the production and use of art. Dr Cannon's magisterial study is informed by extensive new research, using chronicles, legislation, liturgy, sermons, and other sources to explore the place of art in the lives of the friars and the urban laity of Central Italy.

The longest serving member of The Courtauld’s faculty, Dr Cannon is a reader in the history of art.

The Courtauld Institute of Art Awarded the European Commission’s HR Excellence in Research


We are pleased to annouce that The Courtauld Institute of Art has achieved (November 2013) the European Commission’s HR Excellence in Research Award, which acknowledges their commitment to researcher development.

Details here.


ahrc funds awarded to courtauld doctoral student for collaborative skill development project on art and music


Second-year PhD student Harriette Peel has won AHRC funding for a Collaborative Skills Development project in conjunction with Katie Bank and Matthew Laube – musicology PhD students at Royal Holloway University of London. Their project is entitled ‘Renaissance Art and Music, the space between’.


Renaissance Art and Music (RA&M) is an AHRC-funded interdisciplinary project on which The Courtauld Institute of Art will work together with Royal Holloway, University of London’s musicology department to explore the relationship between art and music c.1400-1550. It is particularly interested in examining how best the two disciplines can be studied and presented together. The team has organized monthly interdisciplinary discussion groups, two professional panel seminars with curators, musicologists and musicians, and a postgraduate student conference. The research will culminate in two performance workshops in the winter of 2013-14, one at The Courtauld Gallery and one at St Bartholomew-the-Great, Smithfield, where the exploration into how best to address and present the two media will come to fruition. You can follow the progress of the project on Twitter, @RenArtandMusic.



Andrew W Mellon Foundation/ Research Forum Postdoctoral Fellow (Activities Coordinator)


The Research Forum is pleased to announce that Michael Carter is the 2014 Andrew W Mellon Foundation/ Research Forum Postdoctoral Fellow.


Michael CarterMichael Carter recently completed his PhD at the Courtauld. The subject of his thesis was the art and architecture of the Cistercians in northern England in the late Middle Ages. His research challenges many assumptions about the perceived decline of the Cistercians in the late medieval period, showing the enduring vitality of the Order’s visual and material cultures. During his fellowship year, Michael will be editing his thesis for publication as a monograph, while also organising a public research programme focused on religious art and conflict.


Michael has presented invited lectures to the British Archaeological Association and the Society of Antiquaries, and has also published articles in several peer-reviewed journals, including Church Monuments, The Antiquaries Journal and The Journal of Medieval Monastic Studies.


Michael took up the post in January 2014.



With sponsorship from the Terra Foundation for American Art, the Research Forum awards a two-year fellowship for the teaching and study of historical American art (pre-1980), as well two short-term visiting professorships in American art. These fellowships are part of an initiative of the Terra Foundation that aims to internationalise the field of historical American art, building a network of scholarly peers and has been awarded in conjunction with similar fellowships at the Freie Universität Berlin and the Institut national d’histoire de l’art in Paris.  The two-year fellowship enables an emerging scholar to teach on a selected American art topic at The Courtauld Institute and to undertake a major research project intended for publication. The visiting professorships are designed for scholars of American Art whose work plays a defining role in the disciplines of art and architectural history and conservation and who are willing to share their research with The Courtauld community formally (through lectures and seminars) and informally.


The Research Forum is pleased to announce the results of the Terra Foundation for American Art Postdoctoral Teaching Fellowship for 2014-15, as follows:

Hélèn Valanceis the Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow for 2014-15..


Information about previous Terra Foundation Fellows and Visiting Professors can be found here.



research forum VISITING Curator


The Research Forum is pleased to announce that Rafael Cardoso is the 2012-2013 Research Forum Visiting Curator.


Rafael Cardoso is a writer and art historian, holding a PhD from the Courtauld Institute of Art (1995). He is the author of numerous books on the history of Brazilian art and design, the most recent of which are Design para um mundo complexo (Cosac Naify, 2012); Impresso no Brasil, 1808-1930: Destaques da história gráfica no acervo da Biblioteca Nacional (Verso Brasil, 2009); and A arte brasileira em 25 quadros (1790-1930) (Record, 2008), as well as three works of fiction. He is associated with the Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, as a member of the postgraduate faculty of its Instituto de Artes. He is also active as an independent curator, having recently curated the major exhibitions Rio de Imagens: Uma Paisagem em Construção (Museu de Arte do Rio, 2013); From the Margin to the Edge: Brazilian Art and Design in the 21st Century (Somerset House, London, 2012) and Eliseu Visconti: A Modernidade Antecipada (Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, 2011).





The Research Forum is pleased to announce that Heather Norris Nicholson, Julia Bryan-Wilson and Jay Winter are the 2013-14 Research Forum Visiting Professors.

Heather Norris NicholsonHeather Norris Nicholson is Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Visual and Oral History Research, University of Huddersfield. Her current interdisciplinary research focuses on issues of visual memory, identity, belonging and historical change within amateur visual culture, as developed in Amateur Films. Meaning and Practice 1927-1977 (Manchester University Press, 2012). Her interests in how social access to recreational filmmaking gradually widened explores aspects of family life, everyday and working lives, local and regional identity, leisure time and overseas travel. Wider interests explore issues of archival access, changing patterns of personal record making and also the visual politics of cultural representation as seen in earlier film-related writings on indigenous filmmaking and changing filmic identities, include Screening Culture: Meaning and Identity (ed.) (Lexington, 2003). She is part of the Oral History Journal’s editorial group, is fervently committed to bringing amateur film to wider audiences and is currently co-writing a book on Britain's pioneering twentieth century women amateur filmmakers.

julia Bryan-Wilson Julia Bryan-Wilson is Associate Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art in the History of Art Department at UC Berkeley. Her research interests include questions of artistic labor, feminism, queer theory, performance, photography, fabrication/production, and handicraft.  She is the author of Art Workers: Radical Practice in the Vietnam War Era (University of California Press, 2009), and editor of OCTOBER Files: Robert Morris (MIT Press, 2013). A scholar and critic, Bryan-Wilson has written about artists such as Laylah Ali, Ida Applebroog, Sadie Benning, the Cockettes, Sharon Hayes, Harmony Hammond, Cristóbal Lehyt, Yoko Ono, Ana Mendieta, Yvonne Rainer, and Anne Wilson, in publications that include Art Bulletin, Artforum, differences, October, Oxford Art Journal, and many exhibition catalogs.  Her article “Invisible Products” received the 2013 Art Journal award. She has held grants from the Getty, the Clark Art Institute, the Henry Moore Institute, and the Center for Craft, Creativity and Design. Bryan-Wilson’s current book project is entitled Craft Crisis: Handmade Art and Activism since 1970.

Jay WinterJay Winter is the Charles J. Stille Professor of History at Yale University. He was a Fellow of Pembroke College, Cambridge, and Lecturer, then Reader in Modern History at Cambridge from 1979-2001. He won an Emmy award as co-producer and historian of the 8-hour television series shown on the BBC and the American PBS in 1996, entitled The Great War and the shaping of the twentieth century. He is the author of Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning: The Great War in European Cultural History (1995), published in French in 2007.  With Antoine Prost, he is author of The Great War in History (2004) and René Cassin and the Rights of Man. From the Great War to the Universal Declaration (2013).  He is editor-in-chief of the three-volume Cambridge History of the First World War, published in French in 2013 and in English in 2014.  He is a founder of the Historial de la grande guerre, the museum of the Great War at Péronne, Somme, France.


Research Forum Visiting Conservators

The Research Forum is pleased to announce that Michele Marincola and Jacques Neguer have been appointed as the Research Forum Visiting Conservators for the Academic Year 2012-13.


The appointment of Visiting Conservator is offered to conservators whose work plays a defining role in the discipline and who are willing to share their research with the Courtauld community formally (through lectures and seminars) and informally for a period of one to five weeks.


Michele D. Marincola
is Sherman Fairchild Chairman and Professor of Conservation of the Conservation Center, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University.  She is also part-time Conservator for The Cloisters (Metropolitan Museum of Art) and coordinates conservation for the Acton Collection at Villa la Pietra in Florence (NYU).  Her qualifications in art history and Advanced Certificate in Conservation were obtained at the Institute of Fine Arts. She has lectured and published widely on the techniques and conservation of medieval sculpture, conservation ethics and theory, and is currently working on a book on the treatment of polychrome wood sculpture.

Jacques Neguer

Jacques Neguer was born in Plovdiv, Bulgaria and graduated from the Polytechnic of Sofia, Bulgaria in 1986 with an MS Degree in Engineering Science in Chemistry. Between 1979 and 1992 he was conservator in the National Institute for Historical Monuments, Sofia, Bulgaria. He specialized in mosaics conservation at the Istituto Superiore Centrale del Restauro (ISCR), Rome, Italy. Since 1993 he has worked as a conservator in the Conservation Department of the Israel Antiquities Authority, becoming Head of the Art Conservation Section of the Conservation Department in 1994. He has been a member of ICCM (International Committee for Conservation Mosaics) since 1996 and was an elected member of the board from 2002 to 2005. He is also a member of ICOMOS – Israel and Head of the Scientific Committee for Stone conservation.



Archive of previous Visiting Curators, Professors, and Conservators




Research Fellows' Reports, 2012-2013


Francesca Whitlum-Cooper, 2012-2013 Courtauld Institute of Art Research Forum/Centre Allemand d’Histoire de l’Art /Deutsches Forum für Kunstgeschichte Predoctoral Fellow


The Courtauld Institute of Art Research Forum offers, in partnership with the Centre Allemand d’Histoire de l’Art/ Deutsches Forum für Kunstgeschichte, a twelve-month predoctoral fellowship, to be held by a Courtauld Institute of doctoral candidate whose research project concerns French art before 1900. This year's Predoctoral Fellow, Francesca Whitlum-Cooper, has spent the academic year resident in Paris, affiliated with the Centre Allemand there.


Francesca joined an international group of nine fellows whose research related to the 2012-2013 theme of 'Movement'. Her PhD thesis focuses on the peregrinations of French pastel painters in eighteenth-century Europe, and her study benefited hugely from participating in a scholarly environment in which movement is broached in the broadest intellectual terms, not just physical movement but the circulation of ideas and the drive of the passions.  




Conference Fontainebleau: Rencontres Franco-Britanniques


Francesca Whitlum-Cooper, PhD Candidate, The Courtauld Institute of Art


Chateau de Fontainebleau


For three days at the beginning of June the historic town and chateau of Fontainebleau, thirty-five miles outside Paris, were transformed into the site of the third annual Festival de l’histoire de l’art. With the support of the Ministry of Higher Education and Research, the French Ministry of Culture and Communications, the French National Institute of Art History (INHA), and the Château of Fontainebleau, the Festival aims not only to foster excellence in the history of art, but also to open up its discourses to a wider audience, creating a meaningful dialogue between the academic community and the public. The theme chosen for this year’s Festival was ‘the ephemeral’, with a special emphasis on the art and scholarship of Great Britain. Aiming, therefore, to build bridges not only between spectators and scholars but also between French and British institutions, seven MA and PhD students from The Courtauld were invited to Fontainebleau to participate in a series of events entitled “Rencontres Franco-Britanniques.”


Chapel concertThe invited students were greeted with incredible hospitality. Arriving at the Château on the Friday afternoon, a number of us were able to meet the French Culture Minister, Aurélie Filipetti, who was there to officially open the Festival. You could not have asked for a better location for an art history festival than Fontainebleau: meeting the Minister in the ornately decorated salle de Bal, it was abundantly clear why the preservation, study and communication of such cultural heritage is so important. Although the Festival took over much of the town of Fontainebleau, the Château was undeniably the heart of the weekend’s festivities, whether that was in the concerts held in the Chapelle de la Trinité, the lavish meals laid on in the Galerie des Cerfs or Saturday’s soirée in the Jardin de Diane.



For the student speakers Fontainebleau offered both a rich programme and a great deal of freedom. On Saturday and Sunday, breakfast roundtables were organised in the Galerie des Cerfs, giving students the opportunity to discuss their research with eminent art historians from both sides of the Channel. Saturday’s workshop was given over to the idea of ‘iconic British art’, with students from both countries presenting for five minutes on a single work they considered iconic: presentations ranged from St Stephen’s Chapel in Westminster to a satirical Wyndham Lewis portrait; from Constable to Hockney, via post-industrial photography and Blake’s radical prints. Sunday’s workshop, by contrast, asked for presentations of methodologies. With projects ranging from Gothic ivories to photojournalism, it was abundantly clear that both countries are producing exciting, diverse and innovative research, and that there is much to be gained from a dialogue between them.


Galerie des CerfsFor the rest of the weekend students were encouraged to make the most of the Festival’s extraordinarily broad offerings. Events ranged from advanced screenings of Peter Greenaway’s Goltzius and the Pelican Company, to talks on the ephemeral in sculpture (by The Courtauld’s own PhD student Yasmin Amaratunga) and in art history itself, to Robert Cantarella’s musée vivant, performed in the grands appartements. The Salon du Livre had representatives from dozens of international publishers and covered the full range of the Festival’s line-up. Finally there was the Château itself. In addition to its beautifully restored rooms and a special exhibition on François Ier and Rosso Fiorentino, the extensive gardens were a popular choice given the sunny weather.


The Festival de l’histoire de l’art is an extraordinary event: a testament to both the organisations that sponsor it and to the complex, constantly evolving field which it is charged to represent. Participating in the Festival was a huge privilege: it is not everyday that students and researchers at the very beginning of their careers have the opportunity to discuss and dine with the leaders of their fields. The Courtauld was strongly represented: with a presentation about the Institute itself, and there were a large number of Courtauld students and alumni attending and presenting. Talking about the Institute with everyone from recent graduates to colleagues who remembered the days of Portman Square and Sir Anthony Blunt, the Festival de l’histoire de l’art was a good reminder of how important, and enduring, The Courtauld community is throughout one’s career.


(June 2013)