Court, Country, City: British Art, 1660-1735

British Art 1660-1735

Court, Country, City: British Art 1660-1735


Funding: Arts and Humanities Research Council

Duration: Three year from October 2009

Principal Investigator: Professor Mark Hallett (Head of Department of the History of Art, York)

Co-Investigators: Professor Nigel Llewellyn (Head of Research, Tate) and Dr Martin Myrone (Curator, Tate)

Collaborators: The University of York and Tate Britain


The Project

The Project

The research project, which was launched in October 2009, is intended to stimulate new approaches to British visual culture from 1660-1735. The period in question saw profound changes in the nation's character and these included a similarly important period of transformation in the visual arts, beginning with the appointment of Peter Lely as court painter to Charles II and ending with the emergence of the St Martin's Lane Academy in the mid-1730s. In terms of British art history, the later decades of the eighteenth century - the 'age of Hogarth and Reynolds' - have been relatively well explored; however, the art of the preceding period has not been recovered or interpreted in the same depth. It is in order to redress this art-historical imbalance, and to provide a set of fresh perspectives on the art of late-Stuart and early Georgian Britain, that this project has been conceived and developed.

Researchers on the team have a wide range of interests and expertise, which are being focused on three major arenas of the visual arts in this period: the later Stuart and early Hanoverian courts, the country seats of the landed aristocracy and the urban spaces occupied by a mix of social classes. Important cross-cutting themes include the development of art theory and the impact of imperial expansion on the visual arts. As well as generating a wide range of publications - including books, journal articles, conference papers and PhDs - the project also aims to communicate the period to a wider audience through gallery displays of art and online resources.

The project is administered by the Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies at the University of York 


Project Team



  • Principal Investigator: Professor Mark Hallett
    Professor of History of Art, the University of York
  • Co-Investigator: Professor Nigel Llewellyn
    Head of Research, Tate Britain
  • Co-Investigator: Dr Martin Myrone
    Curator, Tate Britain
  • Post-doctoral Research Assistant: Dr Lydia Hamlett
  • Post-doctoral Research Assistant: Dr Richard Stephens
  • Post-doctoral Research Assistant: Dr Claudine van Hensbergen


  • Caroline Good
    PhD student: The Making of a National Art History: British writers on art and the narratives of nation, 1660-1735.
  • Peter Moore
    PhD student: British Art in an Atlantic Economy 1660-1735


  • Clare Bond, Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies, University of York


Project Web Resource

The Art World in Britain, 1660-1735


October 2011 saw the launch of a new website conceived, funded and developed by the Court, Country, City: British Art 1660-1735 project. This website, The Art World in Britain, 1660-1735,  edited by Dr Richard Stephens of the project team and developed with the assistance of  Dr Paul Young, a software developer from the University of York Digital Library, is designed  to publish primary sources and research tools for the study of arts in Britain between the restoration of Charles II and the opening of Hogarth's St Martin's Lane Academy.


Conferences and Displays

Conferences and Displays


  • Display: 'Dead Standing Things': Still Life 1660-1740  Tate Britain, London: 21 May - 16 September 2012. Focusing on an often overlooked area of British art history, this display examined the origins of still-life painting in Britain. It showcased the work of key artists such as Edward Collier, Pieter van Roestraten and the flower painting of Simon Verelst amongst others. Based on works from the Tate collection, the display also featured loans from other public and private collections. 
  • three-day conference, Histories of British Art 1660-1735: Reconstruction and Transformation, was held in York in September 2012 to mark the end of the project and to present its major research findings. 
  • A one-day conference on current art-historical scholarship in the field, Revisiting British Art , was held at York on May 7 2010.
  • A one-day conference, British Art 1660-1735: Close Readings on new approaches to the period was held at Tate Britain on 20 May 2011.
  • A temporary gallery display - with the aim of introducing major questions from the research project and relating them to objects in the Tate Collection - was installed at Tate Britain in Autumn 2010, and ran until 10th November 2011.