• 10 April 2015
  • 9:30 – 5:10 pm
  • Sainsbury Institute for Art

This session is convened by Mark Hallett, Sarah Victoria Turner and Martina Droth, from the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, London, and the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, as part of the Association of Art Historians 2015 Annual Conference in Norwich.

How have histories of British art been shaped, defined and contested by and through exhibitions? Taking a broad historical perspective, and responding to an upsurge of interest in the study of exhibition histories in recent years, this session explores the varied exhibition cultures of British art from 1760 – the year that saw the first annual exhibition of contemporary British painting, sculpture and printmaking – through to today. The papers in this session do not seek to offer a chronological history of exhibitions, but rather a series of critical propositions that take exhibitions and exhibition culture as a lens through which to examine the history, presentation, marketing and reception of British art, both in the UK and internationally.

How have exhibitions shaped or disputed the artistic canon, defined particular artistic groupings, or articulated distinctive histories of British art? How have they contributed to new kinds of critical and art-historical writing about British painting, sculpture, graphic and multi-media arts? Speakers in this session will address such questions by exploring exhibitions of British art in a variety of contexts, both nationally and internationally. Drawing on a wide range of examples and case studies, these papers will interrogate and analyse the dynamic, transformative and sometimes challenging relationship of British art to its exhibition histories.


Samantha Howard (Historical Royal Palaces) 'A Short Stay Only': Ephemeral Display and Marketing of Portraiture on the 18th-Century Provincial High Street

Catherine Roach (Virginia Commonwealth University) Revisiting Reynolds, Once Every Ten Years: The British School at the British Institution, 1813–63

Nicole Simpson (The Graduate Center, City University of New York) Presenting the History of Printmaking: The gallery of engravings at the Art Treasures Exhibition, Manchester, 1857

Rebecca Wade (Henry Moore Institute) The National Exhibition of Works of Art at Leeds, 1868

Julia Snape (Independent scholar) ‘British Primitives’: Exhibiting the Englishness of medieval art in the early 20th century and beyond

Richard Marks (University of Cambridge) Exhibitions on English Medieval Art 1984–2004

Alexandra Moschovi (University of Sunderland) ‘Towards a Bigger Picture’: Shaping the history of British photography at the Victoria and Albert Museum

Hammad Nasar (Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong) Inadvertent Restaging or Exhibitionary De-colonisation? Migrations: Journeys into British Art and the Other Story

Speaker withdrawn from original listing: Sarah Moulden (University of East Anglia) ‘A scheme almost too daring for an individual’: John Sell Cotman’s One-Man Exhibition