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British Art and its Histories

Module Description
This is a double-weighted module (60 CATS) which forms the core of the MA in British Art. Each term consists of two blocks of study – “The Formation of a National School” and “Art and Empire” in the autumn term; “Nation and Architecture” and “Institutions, Markets, Scholarship” in the spring term.
The module is designed to equip students for the study of British art in terms of historical material and theoretical and methodological skills. Students will engage with the historiography of British art, paying attention to the scholarship that has shaped the field, as well as most important recent developments and cutting-edge theoretical debates.
The core module emphasizes the fact that history of art is a multi-institutional discipline, involving different kinds of research in the academy, museums and collections, dealers, and auction houses. The module will also develop students’ visual analytical skills through extensive object-based study, working with partners in major institutions and the university’s own distinguished collection of post-war British work.
For 2010-11 it is anticipated that visits to the Royal Academy, V&A, Sotheby’s, RIBA and an art dealer, with input from specialist staff at these institutions, will form a key part of the module.
Sample Syllabus (Subject to change):
A: The Formation of a National School
Hogarth and the formation of a national school
Landscape and Nation
The Foundation and Functions of the Royal Academy
Study day at the Royal Academy
B: British Art and Empire
British Artists in India in the eighteenth-century
The Englishness of Empire
The Image of the Raj
Postcolonial British Art
Study day at the V&A
C: Nation and Architecture
The origins of a national architecture
Coventry Cathedral and the renewal of British architectural tradition
Study day at Compton Verney
Study day at RIBA
D: Institutions, Markets, Scholarship
Art criticism and canons of British art in the early twentieth century
Contemporary displays of British art and its histories
Markets for British Art: visit to a London auction house and art dealer
Collecting contemporary art
Recent trends in the scholarship of British Art
2 x 5,000 word assessed essays (one per term)