Friends of York Art Gallery Research Scholarship

The 2017-18 Friends of York Art Gallery Research Scholarship will provide the successful applicant with a partial fee waiver of £5,000, and an opportunity to undertake a volunteer placement at the gallery. Open to all full-time Home/EU and Overseas applicants.

York Art Gallery

About York Art Gallery

York Art Gallery is part of York Museums Trust, a registered charity which also manages The Yorkshire Museum and York Castle Museum. As such, the gallery works alongside colleagues in learning, volunteering, marketing, enterprise and digital media. York Art Gallery is a major regional art gallery which works in partnership with a range of local, regional and national partners including the Art Fund, Tate and the National Gallery. 

The collections

York Art Gallery’s collections are an outstandingly rich resource with over 1000 oil paintings, 15,000 works on paper, 100 sculptures, 5500 studio ceramics and archival material. Consequently there are still lots of new discoveries to be made, in a supportive and inspiring environment. York Art Gallery reopened in summer 2015 after a major £8,000,000 development project with 60% more display space to present major exhibitions such as the current Albert Moore: Of Beauty and Aesthetics, new gardens, exciting learning programmes and the launch of the Centre of Ceramic Art (CoCA). The Gallery has won numerous awards including Family Friendly Museum of the Year Award 2016, shortlisted for the Art Fund’s Museum of the Year Award 2016 and most recently won a special commendation at the European Museum of the Year Awards.

About Friends of York Art Gallery

The gallery has a highly supportive and active Friends group which has funded this MA scholarship and which is keen to learn more about York Art Gallery’s collections. You can watch a video about the group here.

The partnership

The partnership

This annual scholarship is available to students undertaking a Masters degree in History of Art at The University of York. The award will provide a partial fee-waiver of £5,000 for one full-time student, commencing their studies in Autumn 2017.

The recipient of Friends of York Art Gallery Research Scholarship will undertake a research project based on York Art Gallery’s collections and this research may also contribute towards their MA dissertation.  The research project will be based on the Tillotson Hyde collection of illustrations on paper but the exact nature of this project and its outcomes will be determined through discussion with the Curator of Fine Art in partnership with the Friends of York Art Gallery.

The student will work one day a week at York Art Gallery on the research project and will also contribute to the Friends of York Art Gallery’s programme of events & activities.  The student will be expected to deliver the following outcomes and will be given full training and support to realise these:

  • Research project as defined by the student, Friends of York Art Gallery and York Art Gallery. Outcomes for this – e.g. digital resources etc will be agreed at the start of the project
  • At least 1 x lunchtime talk for the Friends of York Art Gallery
  • 1 x 500 word report for the Friends of York Art Gallery newsletter
  • 1 x 2000 word essay on the findings of their research, for publication on the Friends of York Art Gallery/ York Museum Trust website
  • 1 x final report for the Friends of York Art Gallery (approx 300 words)

The research topic

The Tillotson Hyde collection was presented to York Art Gallery in 1962. It consists of some 1500 drawings by over 500 mostly British artists including Phil May, William Heath Robinson, Marjorie Miller, Cecil Aldin and George Cruikshank. About four fifths of them are designs for book and magazine illustrations, the range encompassing drawings for children’s publications and adult fiction, political cartoons, social satire, and journalistic illustration from the late 19th / early 20th century.

The project for this year’s Friends of York Art Gallery MA Research Scholar will be to conduct research into this collection, its artists and identifying publications for which they were produced. As the collection is substantial with a wide scope, there is the potential to identify an area of it that the student may wish to conduct more thorough research and/or develop an exhibition proposal. In October 2018 York Art Gallery hopes to host a touring exhibition of illustrations from Roald Dahl’s BFG, and would like to add works from YAG’s own collection to run alongside so research will feed into that. The Tillotson Hyde collection is almost unknown, even to specialists in the field of book illustration, and has been little studied, so this project represents an exciting and unique opportunity to undertake original research leading to tangible public outcomes. In addition to the outcomes required by the Friends of York Art Gallery, other results may include:

  • Enhanced knowledge of YAG’s collections for the public
  • Updated information on the collections website and in internal object history files
  • Complementary display to accompany a potential touring loan exhibition of Quentin Blake illustrations in October 2018. This may include selection of works, research and interpretation.
  • Talks or other public outcomes including through digital and social media channels
  • Themes and works identified for future collections displays.

Students should be able to demonstrate an interest in or knowledge of illustration – political or children’s – from the Victorian period to about 1930. The student will be supervised at the Gallery by the Curator of Fine Art and will be provided with any necessary training including object handling and Adlib, the Collections Database.

James Tillotson Hyde (1894-1973) was born into a Cheshire family, the eldest of seven children. Rather than following his father into the family business (a paper-products manufactory in Accrington), he became a lawyer. Called to the Bar in May 1938, he subsequently practised as a barrister throughout the 1940s. By 1962 he was living in Lytham St Anne’s, Lancashire, where he died eleven years later. In retirement, Tillotson Hyde began to consider the ultimate destination of his sizeable collection, which he was anxious to keep intact. Initially Tillotson Hyde had intended to bequeath the drawings to York Art Gallery, but he changed his mind on hearing of the proposed foundation of a University of York at that time. Interested in the possible links between the new University and the Gallery, and recognizing the potential of the collection as a resource for the study of both art and social history, he decided that the collection should be a gift rather than a bequest, and that it be made immediately available.


The student view

The student view

‌‌‌York Art Gallery MA Scholar Placement, Samantha Timm

My education at the University of York and experience at the York Art Gallery have been invaluable and an essential part of my growth as a scholar. The History of Art Department’s instruction and dissertation advising is top-notch, and has helped me solidify research skills which I was able to apply to my work at the York Art Gallery. As the Friends of York Art Gallery’s MA Scholar for 2016-17, I curated two displays in support of the feature exhibition Albert Moore: Of Beauty and Aesthetics. My expertise in 19th-century British art and the style of Aestheticism was well suited for this purpose, especially in writing the exhibition texts and labels for my two rooms featuring 19th-century painting and the Moore family paintings in the collection.

This important feature is the first exhibition of Albert Moore’s work since his memorial exhibition in 1894. The appeal lies in the outstanding and rare selection of works, unified themes of later 19th-century painting, and clever displays.

With the guidance of the Gallery’s Assistant Curator, Jennifer Alexander, I have also honed my ability to draw on the collection’s strengths. Furthermore, I am currently working with the Gallery’s Curator of Learning, Gaby Lees, and facilitating the Welcome Team to curate the Community Chest. The Community Chest is a set of drawers that will contain a vibrant selection of works on paper, accompanied by a small book of interpretive materials and insights about the works.

My experience at studying at the University of York and working at York Art Gallery has been invaluable, and has equipped me to succeed as a museum educator and curator.

Read about the experiences of previous recipients of the Friends of York Art Gallery Research Scholarship:




To be eligible to apply for this studentship, you must already be holding an offer of a place on the taught MA in History of Art, or a related pathway degree. Applications are welcomed from all full-time offer holders, regardless of fee status (Home, EU or Overseas). Please see our general guidance.

If you are yet to submit an application for MA study with us but hope to apply for a partnership studentship, please e-mail us immediately at histart-pg-admission​ for individual guidance. You will need to submit your application for an MA place as a matter of urgency.

How to apply 

Submit an enthusiastic personal statement of no more than 500 words which outlines your preferred research topic, as well as:

  • your awareness of, interest in and commitment to the period / theme / collection(s) detailed in the project description
  • any relevant skills, knowledge and/or experience
  • how you see the award fitting in with and facilitating your career plans

Remember to consult the information regarding the partnership on this webpage, and the partner institution's own website, before you apply.

Please email your personal statement to by 12 noon (BST) Monday 12 June.


Shortlisted applicants will be invited for interview, scheduled on Friday 30 June.  Please ensure your availability for travel and attendance before submitting an application. If you are not in the UK on the interview date it may be possible to arrange interview by skype; please email us ( for guidance.



I have hugely enjoyed the involvement with the Friend of York Art Gallery, in the position of giving talks and even visiting schools, and helping produce a film...

Jye O'Sullivan, 2014-15 Friends of York Art Gallery Scholarship

The partnership students undertake invaluable research on the collections at York Art Gallery, deepening our understanding and making new discoveries.

Laura Turner (Curator of Art), York Art Gallery

I think it is impossible for [the placement] not to contribute to my, or another other student's, job prospects

Jye O'Sullivan, 2014-15 Friends of York Art Gallery Scholarship

Current Partnership Studentships: