British Art Studies is an open access, peer-reviewed digital journal published jointly by the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, London, and the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven. The journal provides an innovative space for new research and scholarship of the highest quality on all aspects of British art, architecture, and visual culture in their most diverse and international contexts.
British Art Studies is one of the few completely open access journals in the field of art history, providing a platform for digital publishing as well as a forum for debate about the digital humanities and fair use.
A major theme of Issue 2 is the relationship between art history and conservation. Our aim is to foster a dialogue between these two related, but often disconnected, modes of research. The digital platform allows us to integrate complex technical information with visual and critical analysis, in ways that bring the worlds of the art historian and the conservator closer together. For example, by using simple digital tools such as the overlaying of images, technical information can be understood in direct relation to the object. Conservation and technical research often appear in specialist publications; our aim is to resituate this work in an art-historical context and enable it to be accessed and understood by a wider audience. Some of the digital tools we have employed to display this information are in the public domain and freely available as open source software. Looking further ahead, we have articles in development that focus on network-mapping and the visualizing of “big data” and other kinds of information, which we hope will contribute in new ways to the buoyant debates animating digital humanities scholarship.
Conservation and transformation are also the main themes of our “cover” in this issue. A series of moving images capture details from the conservation of Louis I. Kahn’s Yale Center for British Art in New Haven. The project will soon be completed and the museum reopens to the public on 11 May. The images mark a fleeting moment in the building’s life, in which it was emptied of art and stripped back to its architectural bones. The animated cover underlines our aim to use every part of the journal in ways we could not do in print.
Changing Subjects: The Gallery at Cleveland House and the Highland Clearance, by Anne Nellis Richter
Canaletto's Colour: the inspiration and implications of changing grounds, pigments and paint application in the artist's English period, by Roxane Sperber and Jens Stenger
High Art and High Stakes: The 3rd Duke of Dorset’s Gamble on Reynolds, by John Chu
Conversations and Chimneypieces: the imagery of the hearth in eighteenth-century English family portraiture, by Matthew Craske
John Singleton Copley and the World of Prints, an Audio-Visual Conversation between Jules Prown and Mark Hallett
Still Invisible?, a Conversation Piece coordinated by Patricia de Montfort and Robyne Erica Calvert
Looking for “the Longitude”, a Look First feature coordinated by Katy Barrett
Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose and the process of painting, a One Object feature by Rebecca Hellen and Elaine Kilmurray