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AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership: ‘The Landscape Painter’s Studio in the Age of Exhibitions: Private Galleries in London, from Gainsborough to Constable and Turner, c.1780–1850’

Posted on 21 April 2017

The University of York, in partnership with Tate, is seeking to appoint a suitably qualified applicant for a full-time collaborative PhD studentship focused on landscape painters’ studios and private galleries in which images of rural Britain were made, displayed and sold during the period c.1780–1850. The studentship commences on 1 October 2017. Principal Supervisor: Dr Richard Johns (York). Second supervisor: Dr Martin Myrone (Tate).

In recent years a generation of scholarship has helped to redefine the London art world of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century as an ‘age of exhibitions’. Centred on the Royal Academy and its precursors, interest in the capital’s exhibition culture has also embraced the more explicitly commercial exhibition enterprises of John Boydell, Thomas Macklin and others. Far less attention has been given to the artist’s studio as a site of display and creative encounter. In so doing, this project will make a significant contribution to the scholarship on British landscape during the ‘golden age’, from Gainsborough to Turner, and bring newly into focus key historical questions around the country and the city, urbanisation and the commercialisation of culture, and the social dimensions of the rural in art. It will also contribute to the material and geographical turn in art historical scholarship, taking into account the physical locations, and physicality, of working spaces as a factor in understanding individual works of art. Combining documentary research with close visual analysis, the project will address the following questions. How did the urban situation of the landscape painter’s studio/gallery shape the viewer’s encounter with the paintings’ rural subject matter? What was the status of the landscape studio within the exhibition economy of the time? How were such spaces curated by the artist, and to what end? How were they promoted, made accessible or exclusive? Could they be sites of patriotism, protest, control, dissent?

In addressing these questions, the project will be expected to take shape around a series of case studies which will bring into focus issues arising from a wider survey of landscape painters’ studios in London over the relevant period. Alongside the salient spaces occupied by Gainsborough, Turner and Constable, these might include Richard Wilson’s studio in Covent Garden, George Barret’s in Portman Square and Westbourne Green, and George Morland’s successive London residences, as well as the nineteenth-century painting rooms of Philip Reinagle in Cavendish Square, Peter De Wint in Percy St, and John Linnell in Cirencester Place. Mapping these and other sites onto the social and cultural topography of late Georgian and Regency London (alongside the more visible institutional exhibition spaces of the capital), the project seeks to identify and understand the modern studio-cum-gallery as a particular and potent space for the production and reception of rural landscape painting—a close encounter of city and country that had a profound impact on the shape of modern British art.

The successful applicant will have the opportunity play an active role in the Curatorial Department at Tate Britain, and will be able to participate in relevant programmed activities organised by the Tate Research Centre: British Romantic Art and British Art Network: Subject Specialist Network, and by the Research Department at Tate. As well as contributing to the development of future display and exhibition projects at Tate Britain, the student will be expected to produce around 20 summary texts on Tate collection works relevant to his/her dissertation research for publication on Tate’s website. Training and support will be provided, and this will provide a valuable opportunity for the student to publish with Tate.

Subject to AHRC eligibility criteria, the award covers full tuition fees at the UK/EU rate and a stipend towards living expenses for three years. The national minimum doctoral stipend for 2017/18 has been set by Research Councils UK as £14,553 plus £550 additional payment for Collaborative Doctoral Students. For more information visit:

Entry criteria

We invite applications from candidates with a strong academic background in eighteenth- or nineteenth-century art and culture. Successful applicants normally have a good first degree (at least 2.1, or international equivalent) in a relevant field, and have obtained or are currently working towards a Masters degree at Merit level, or international equivalent, in the history of art. If English is not a candidate’s native language, he or she will also need to satisfy the English language entry requirements of the University of York.

Please note that the award is subject to the AHRC’s terms, to which applicants should refer before applying (see the Research Funding Guide).

Note that overseas students are not eligible for AHRC awards (except under specific circumstances) and EU students need to assess whether they are eligible for fees and maintenance or fees only. Details of current maintenance and fee rates can be found on the Current Award Holders page of the AHRC website. The studentship applies to the York-based PhD programme only (i.e. not the PhD by Distance Learning programme).

To apply

Applicants should complete an online form and upload a full CV; a research proposal of no more than 1,000 words, outlining a particular area or approach that they would like to pursue; a writing sample of up to 5,000 words; an academic transcript; details of two referees; and, if relevant, proof of English language proficiency, by Friday 12 May 2017. Attachments should use the following naming convention: [Surname]_CV and [Surname]_Research_Proposal.

Please ask two referees to email signed references (from their institutional email accounts) to The deadline for receipt is Friday 12 May 2017. The responsibility for ensuring that references are received by the deadline rests with the candidates. Referees must email their references from their institutional email accounts (references sent from personal/private email accounts will not be accepted unless in the form of a scanned document on institutional headed paper and signed by the referee).

Interviews for shortlisted candidates will be held on Thursday 1 June 2017.

More information

If you have any queries or would like to discuss this opportunity before applying, please contact Dr Richard Johns at

If you have any queries regarding the application process, please contact

For more information about studying at York visit