Research Lunch Series at the Mellon Centre, Autumn 2022

Posted in lectures (to attend) by Editor on September 19, 2022

Selected sessions from this fall’s Research Lunch Series at PMC:

Hans Hönes | Art History in Britain: A Scottish Innovation
Paul Mellon Centre, London, 7 October 2022, 1pm

It is widely assumed that art history made a somewhat belated entry into British academia. The foundation of the Courtauld Institute (1932) and the arrival of the exiled Warburg Institute (1933) have played a pioneering role in the establishment of degree-level teaching of the subject. While such statements are not wrong, they are certainly not the whole story. This paper discusses a range of initiatives to introduce academic art history teaching between ca. 1860 and 1930, focusing in particular on developments at Scottish Universities—Edinburgh, Aberdeen, St Andrews, and Glasgow. At Edinburgh and Aberdeen, the history of art was offered at degree-level as part of the Master of Arts (‘Ordinary’) degree; in the 1920s, Aberdeen even offered a Diploma in ‘Fine Art’. At St Andrews, art historical lectures formed part of the curriculum of disciplines such as classics. I will argue that art history in Britain first gained an institutional footing north of the border, and that this was facilitated by the specificities of Scottish Higher Education. By analysing developments in Scottish higher education I hope to redress a geographical imbalance that permeates much art historiographical writing—the result of a certain southern bias. Book tickets»

Hans C. Hönes is a Lecturer in Art History at Aberdeen University. In 2021–22, he held the Paul Mellon Centre’s Research Collections Fellowship, with a project on British art historiography in the post-war period. He has worked extensively on the history of art history and art theory since the eighteenth century, and has written and edited books on Heinrich Wölfflin (2011), eighteenth-century antiquarianism (2014), Aby Warburg (2015), and art history and migration (2019), as well as publishing articles in journals such as Oxford Art Journal, Architectural History, and Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte. He has just completed his third monograph, a new biography of Aby Warburg (forthcoming with Reaktion Books).

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Jake Subryan Richards | Anglo-Dutch Empire and Visual Culture in the Atlantic World
Paul Mellon Centre, 28 October 2022, 1pm

Theodorus Netscher, Pineapple Grown in Sir Matthew Decker’s Garden, 1720, oil on canvas, 85 x 95 cm (Cambridge: Fitzwilliam Museum).

This talk explores the hidden connections between the British and Dutch Empires as revealed by several paintings from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Through formal and contextual analysis, the talk will investigate how artists have established and challenged visual norms related to Atlantic slavery and freedom. Book tickets»

Jake Subryan Richards is a member of the British Art Network’s Emerging Curators Group and is an Assistant Professor in the Department of International History at the London School of Economics. Between 2020 and 2024, he is the external curator of a project to investigate how the collections of the University of Cambridge Museums are connected to Atlantic enslavement and empire. Richards’ interests span Dutch and British fine art in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and the art of the African diaspora over the past five hundred years. Richards has published research in Past and Present and Comparative Studies in Society and History. His article on anti-slave-trade law won the 2019 Alexander Prize, and his PhD thesis was co-winner of the 2021 Prince Consort and Thirlwall Prize and Seeley Medal. He is a BBC Radio 3/AHRC New Generation Thinker.

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Dean Hawkes | Architecture and the Climate of England
Paul Mellon Centre, 25 November 2022, 1pm

The first chapter of Nikolaus Pevsner’s The Englishness of English Art (1956) is entitled ‘The Geography of Art’. In this Pevsner examined the influence of climate on national character and, by extension, on the art of a nation, concluding that there is, “a whole string of facts from art and literature tentatively derived from climate.” This is a question that I have explored in relation to the history of architecture, in my research in the last decade or so. In this work I have tried to show how the nature of this climate, defined by meteorologists as ‘temperate maritime’, may be represented and interpreted through the study of historic buildings and that the relationship of architecture and climate is as much a question of history and culture as it is of science and technology.

The background to the talk will be established by a brief outline of the architecture-climate relationship in England from the early modern period to the present. This will be followed by a presentation of material from recent in-depth research carried out at the sixteenth-century Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire, where a full annual cycle (2018–19) of environmental data was collected in five of the major apartments. This research, undertaken in collaboration with Dr Ranald Lawrence of the University of Liverpool, combines the methods of building science and architectural history, providing a basis from which to construct a new description of the environment in the house as it was experienced in the first years of its inhabitation at the turn of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, in the midst of the so-called ‘Little Ice Age’. Book tickets»

Dean Hawkes has been a teacher, researcher and practitioner of architecture for over half a century. For thirty years he taught and researched in the Department of Architecture at the University of Cambridge and, between 1995 and 2002, was Professor of Architectural Design at the Welsh School of Architecture at Cardiff University. Following his retirement he returned to Cambridge as a Fellow of Darwin College, where he continues to research and teach. He has held visiting professorships at schools of architecture in Glasgow, Hong Kong, Huddersfield, Leicester, and Singapore. His research is concerned with the relationship of architecture and the environment, with particular emphasis on the evolution of this connection in the history of architecture. This theme has been explored in a sequence of books: The Environmental Tradition (1996), The Selective Environment (2002), The Environmental Imagination (1st ed. 2008, 2nd ed. 2018), and Architecture and Climate: An Environmental History of British Architecture (2012), and in numerous papers. In 2010 he received the RIBA Annie Spink Award for excellence in architectural education.

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