- 2 July 2020
- This is the sixth lecture in a six-part series, titled Georgian Provocations: Six Iconic Works of Art from Eighteenth-Century Britain.
This lecture is now available.
Today, Thomas Lawrence is primarily remembered and celebrated as the most distinguished portraitist of the late Georgian period: the worthy successor to Reynolds, and someone whose paintings offer especially glamorous depictions of the contemporary political and social elite. What is less well appreciated is his brilliant and highly experimental orchestration of the exhibition space as an environment in which to promote the range of his portraiture and the riches of his talent. In this lecture, which draws on a pioneering reconstruction of the 1792 Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, Mark Hallett focuses on Lawrence’s early portrait of the Etonian Arthur Atherley in order to explore this aspect of the artist’s practice, and to think afresh about the ways in which ambitious British painters exploited the dynamics of visual display to promote their careers and reputations at the end of the eighteenth century.
Georgian Provocations: Six Iconic Works of Art from Eighteenth-Century Britain is a one-off summer Public Lecture Course, delivered online, which is designed to provide an accessible and stimulating introduction to the art of the period. In this series of six 30-minute lectures, the art-historians Mark Hallett and Martin Postle focus on seminal paintings from the Georgian era and investigate their contents, contexts and impact. Doing so reveals many of the ideas and issues that coursed through British visual culture between the 1730s and the 1790s, and demonstrates the riches that continue to be gained from looking closely at the individual work of art.
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About the speaker
Mark Hallett is Märit Rausing Director at the Courtauld Institute of Art. Between 2012 and 2023 he was Director of the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art. Prior to taking up that position, Mark worked in the History of Art department at the University of York. Appointed as lecturer in 1994, he became a professor in 2006 and was Head of Department between 2007 and 2012.
Mark’s scholarly research has focused on British art from the seventeenth century onwards. Books he has written and edited include The Spectacle of Difference: Graphic Satire in the Age of Hogarth (Yale University Press, 1999); Hogarth (Phaidon Press, 2000); Eighteenth Century York: Culture, Space and Society (edited with Jane Rendall, Borthwick Institute, 2003); Faces in a Library: Sir Joshua Reynolds's 'Streatham Worthies' (The Watson Gordon Lecture 2011, National Galleries of Scotland, 2012); Living with the Royal Academy: Artistic ideals and Experiences in England, 1769–1848 (edited with Sarah Monks and John Barrell Ashgate, 2013); Reynolds: Portraiture in Action (Yale University Press, 2014); and Court, Country, City: British Art and Architecture, 1660–1735 (edited with Nigel Llewellyn and Martin Myrone, Yale University Press, 2016). He also co-edited the major online publication, The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition: A Chronicle, 1769–2018 (Paul Mellon Centre, 2018).
Mark has also been involved in curating numerous exhibitions. He co-curated the 2007 Tate Britain exhibition Hogarth and co-authored the accompanying catalogue with Christine Riding; he co-curated the 2011 York Art Gallery exhibition William Etty: Art and Controversy and co-edited the accompanying catalogue with Sarah Burnage and Laura Turner; he co-curated the 2015 Wallace Collection exhibition Joshua Reynolds: Experiments in Paint and co-edited the accompanying catalogue with Lucy Davis. With his PMC colleague Sarah Victoria Turner, he curated the 2018 Royal Academy exhibition, The Great Spectacle: 250 Years of the Summer Exhibition, and co-authored the accompanying catalogue. He curated George Shaw: A Corner of a Foreign Field, which opened at the Yale Center for British Art in October 2018, before travelling to the Holburne Museum, Bath, in February 2019. With Zuzana Flaskova and Rosie Ram, he co-curated the 2019-20 Tate Britain Spotlight Display Vital Fragments: Nigel Henderson and the Art of Collage, for which he also co-wrote a series of short films on Henderson’s collage-work Screen.
Mark has been the recipient of a Leverhulme Research Fellowship and a Paul Mellon Centre Senior Fellowship. He was a Visiting Scholar at Pembroke College, Cambridge (2013–14) and a Visiting Professor at the Courtauld Institute of Art (2014–16). He gave the British Academy’s ‘Aspects of Art’ lecture for 2019, titled ‘The Newspaper Man: Michael Andrews and the Art of Painted Collage’.
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Variations on a Theme: Richard Wilson’s The White Monk (c. 1755–1765)
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18 Jun 2020
The Artist as Intellectual: Joshua Reynolds’s Self-Portrait as President of the Royal Academy (1780)
25 Jun 2020
Displaying the Hero: John Singleton Copley’s The Death of Major Peirson (1784)
09 Jul 2020
Georgian Provocations: A Conversation