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Prof Michael Rosenthal

BA, PhD (London), MA (Cambridge)

Room F42 Millburn House | Office Hours: Week 4: Tuesday, 11.00-12.00, Thursday 10.00 - 12.00


Research Interests | Publications 


Research Interests

My research has centred on the arts within British social and cultural histories, mainly of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, and I have had an abiding concern with landscape. At present I am exploring art and travel and colonial art in general, with particular reference to Australia 1788-1840; and am writing a book on picture-making in early colonial Australia. In light of work begun in the topographical collections of the British Library, this will lead to a more general investigation into British imperial imageries. I have additionally developed an active interest in the painting and architecture of the Venetian Renaissance, not least because of its real links with my British imperial concerns.

I have most recently supervised doctoral dissertations on the imagery of the family in eighteenth-century Britain, the British in India in the later eighteenth century, on maritime imagery in eighteenth-century Britain, on art criticism and the professional artist in early nineteenth-century Britain, and on the imagery of speculation in early eighteenth-century Britain. If anyone is interested in exploring the possibilities of carrying out research on British art, or on art and colonialism between c1660 and 1840, I would be very happy to hear from them.




  • The Art of Thomas Gainsborough: 'a little business for the Eye', (Yale University Press, 1999)
  • Constable London (Thames & Hudson, World of Art series) 1987, reprinted 2003
  • Constable. The Painter and his Landscape New Haven & London (Yale University Press) 1983 (reprinted 1986)
  • British Landscape Painting, Oxford (Phaidon Press) 1982

Other Publications, since 2000

  • 'Decapitating the Swells: William Baker's Heads of the People' in T. Bonyhady, A. Sayers (eds.) Heads of the People: a Portrait of Colonial Australia Canberra (National Gallery of Australia) 2000 pp.43-57.
  • 'Turner fires a Gun' in D.H. Solkin (ed.) Art on the Line. The Royal Academy Exhibition at Somerset House New Haven & London (Yale University Press) 2001 pp.144-155.
  • With Martin Myrone, Gainsborough (Exhibition Catalogue) London (Tate) 2002.
  • 'A view of New Holland: aspects of the Colonial Prospect' in Christiana Payne, William Vaughan (eds.) English Accents. Interactions with British Art c.1776-1855 Aldershot & Burlington VT (Ashgate) 2004 pp.79-99
  • 'Gainsborough's Cottage Doors. a Matter of Modernity' in A. Bermingham (ed.) Sensation & Sensibility. Viewing Gainsborough's Cottage Door New Haven & London (Yale University Press) 2005 pp.77-95, 203.
  • 'Constable, then and now' Art Monthly Australia 192 (August 2006) pp.7-13
  • 'Public reputation and image control in late eighteenth-century Britain' Visual Culture in Britain 7 2 (2006) pp.69-91
  • 'Constable and Englishness' British Art Journal VIII 3 (Winter 2006-07) pp.40-45
  • 'Impressions of Australia' Art Monthly Australia 200 (June 2007) pp.21-27
  • 'Shakespeare's Birthplace at Stratford: Bardolatory reconsidered' in Harald Hendrix (ed.) Writers' Houses and the Making of Memory New York & Abingdon (Routledge) 2007 pp.31-44
  • 'London versus Sydney, 1815-1823: the politics of colonial architecture' Journal of Historical Geography 34 2 (April 2008) 191-219 

Selected Papers

  • 'Writing Gainsborough' The National Gallery, London November 1999
  • 'Tensions in the eighteenth-century Portrait' National Portrait Gallery of Australia, April 1999
  • 'The myths of pictorial Space' Institute of the Arts, Australian National University, April 1999
  • 'Celebrity Culture and image management in late eighteenth-century Britain' The Huntington, San Marino, California, October 2002
  • 'The prospects for landscape' Yale Center for British Art, November 2002
  • 'Likeness' The National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., May 2003
  • 'The artless landscape: figuring colonial Australia' The National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. February 2004
  • 'Shakespeare's Birthplace at Stratford' The Royal Dutch Institute, Rome, May 2005
  • 'Sensibility and the displacement of religious iconography' Yale Center for British Art, October 2005
  • 'London versus Sydney: the politics of colonial architecture c1810-25' The Power Institute of Art, University of Sydney, March 2006; the University of Western Australia April 2006
  • 'Constable and Englishness' Canberra, National Gallery of Australia, April 2006
  • 'Going to the pictures in Australia' National Maritime Museum, Centre for Research in Art and Travel, October 2006

Other Information

I studied at the Courtauld Institute of Art, and, before arriving at Warwick was Leverhulme Research Fellow at Jesus College, Cambridge. I have held vsiting Fellowships at the Yale Center for British Art, the University of Western Australia and the Australian National University, and in March-April 2007 was Macgeorge Fellow at the University of Melbourne. In 2002 I was the guest curator of the major retrospective show of Gainsborough at Tate Britain, which, in 2003, then travelled to the National Gallery of Art, Washington and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

The Art of Thomas Gainsborough