As Convenor, British Art Network, Martin leads and develops the activities of the community of over a thousand specialists working in British art who make up its membership. The network, supported by the Paul Mellon Centre and Tate, brings together curators, researchers and academics based around the UK and internationally, to share expertise, research and ideas.

Before joining the Paul Mellon Centre in 2020, Martin spent over twenty years in curatorial roles at Tate, London, latterly as Senior Curator, pre-1800 British Art. His many exhibitions at Tate Britain have included Gothic Nightmares in 2006, John Martin in 2011, British Folk Art in 2014, William Blake in 2019 and Hogarth and Europe in 2021. His research and publications have focussed on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British art, with a special interest in artistic identity and artists’ labour, class, cultural opportunity and gender. His many published works include Bodybuilding: Reforming Masculinities in British Art 1750–1810 (2005) and Making the Modern Artist: Culture, Class and Art-Educational Opportunity in Romantic Britain (2020), both published by the Paul Mellon Centre. He was co-investigator on the major AHRC-funded research project Court, Country, City British Art 1660–1735 (2009–12) and led the AHRC research network Folk Art and the Art Museum (2010).

After undergraduate studies at University College, London, Martin studied art history at the Courtauld Institute of Art, London. He was awarded an MA in the History of Art in 1994 and his PhD in 1998. He was a long-serving member of the AHRC Peer Review College, has acted as expert advisor to MLA, ACE and DCMS, taught art history at the University of York and Courtauld Institute and supervised a range of doctoral projects on British art history and theory from the seventeenth century to the present day. He is a trustee of Gainsborough’s House, Sudbury.

Selected Publications

Books and exhibition catalogues

Making the Modern Artist: Culture, Class and Art-Educational Opportunity in Romantic Britain, Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, 2020

With Mark Hallett and Nigel Llewellyn (eds), Court Country City: British Art 1660–1740, Yale University Press for the Paul Mellon Centre, 2016

With Ruth Kenny and Jeff McMillan, British Folk Art, Tate Britain, 2014

(ed) John Martin: Apocalypse, Tate Britain, 2011

(ed) Rude Britannia: British Comic Art, Tate Britain, 2010

(ed) William Blake: Seen in my Visions: A Descriptive Catalogue of Pictures, Tate Publishing, 2009

The Blake Book, Tate Publishing, London, 2007

Gothic Nightmares: Fuseli, Blake and the Romantic Imagination, Tate Britain, 2006

Bodybuilding: Reforming Masculinities in British Art, 1750-1810, Yale University Press for the Paul Mellon Centre, 2005

With Michael Rosenthal (eds), Thomas Gainsborough, Tate Britain, 2002

With Lucy Peltz (eds), Producing the Past: Aspects of Antiquarian Culture and Practice 1700–1850, Ashgate, 1999

Essays and chapters

With Anna Cooper, ‘The Social Economics of Artistic Labour: A Technical Case Study of Henry Monro’s Disgrace of Wolsey (1814)’, British Art Studies, Issue 16 (June 2020)

'Coda: Romantic Illustration and the Privatization of History Painting’ in Ian Haywood, Susan Matthews and Mary L. Shannon, eds., Romanticism and illustration, Cambridge University Press, 2019, pp. 298–302

‘Artists born in 1819: Successful Rather than Great?’, Journal of Victorian Culture, 24:4 (October 2019), pp. 453–459

‘Blake on Display: A Century of Exhibitions 1913–2014’ Colin Trodd and Jason Whittaker eds., William Blake: The Man from the Future, special issue of Visual Culture in Britain, 19:3 (2018), pp. 365–379

‘Blake the Artist: at Tate and Abroad’ in Morton D. Paley and Sibylle Erle eds., The Reception of William Blake in Europe, 2 vols, Bloomsbury Academic 2018, vol. 2, pp. 685-698

‘Blake the Painter’, in Sarah Haggarty ed., William Blake in Context, Cambridge University Press, 2018, pp. 70–78

‘William Blake as a Student of the Royal Academy: A Prosopographical Perspective’, Blake an Illustrated Quarterly, 51:2 (Fall 2017)

‘Drawing after the Antique at the British Museum, 1809–1817: “Free” Art Education and the Advent of the Liberal State’, British Art Studies, Issue 5 (3 April 2017),

‘“The Chatterton of Sculpture”: Thomas Procter and the Martyrology of the British School’ in Sarah Burnage and Jason Edwards (eds), The British School of Sculpture, c.1760–1832, Routledge 2016

‘William Blake’s Sodomites’ in Diana Dethloff et al eds., Burning Bright: Essays in Honour of David Bindman, UCL Press 2015, pp.136–145,

‘"Something Too Academical": The Problem with Etty', in Sarah Burnage, Mark Hallett and Laura Turner eds, William Etty: Art & Controversy, York Museums Trust, 2011, pp. 47-59

'The Body of the Blasphemer' in Helen P. Bruder and Tristanne Connolly eds, Queer Blake, Palgrave Macmillan 2010, pp. 74–86

‘The Society and the Graphic Arts: George Vertue (1684–1756) and his Legacy’ in Susan Pearce (ed.), Visions of Antiquity: Society of Antiquaries Tercentenary Volume, Archaeologia vol.111 (2007), pp. 99–121

‘Henry Fuseli and Gothic Spectacle’, Huntington Library Quarterly, 70:2 (2007), pp. 289–310

‘Gothic Romance and Quixotic Heroism: A Pageant for Henry Fuseli in 1783’, Tate Papers 1 (Spring 2004),

‘The Spectacle of the Sublime: The Transformation of Ideal Art at Somerset House’ in David Solkin (ed), Art on the Line: The Royal Academy Exhibitions at Somerset House, 1780–1836, Yale University Press for the Paul Mellon Centre, 2001, pp. 77–91