BA (University of Sussex), MSt (Oxon), PhD (University of York)
Cora received her PhD from the University of York as part of an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral project with Tate Britain looking at the classical nude in late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth century British art. Her research on obscure areas of the Tate collection resulted in an extensive series of catalogue essays for the Tate website, and Bodies of Nature: Classical Pleasure 1780-1840, an exhibition of paintings, sculpture, prints and drawings centred on Bacchanalian imagery. During postdoctoral fellowships at Naples L’Orientale University, the Huntington Library, the California Institute of Technology, and University College London, she rewrote her thesis into a monograph, The Classical Body in Romantic Britain, published in April 2020 by the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art. At the Huntington she curated a second exhibition on the representation of the infant putto from the sixteenth to the early twentieth centuries. Her next book project looks at engagements with Greco-Roman form among artists of colour—particularly those of African and indigenous American descent—from the 19th century to the present day. She has written on contemporary art for publications such as The White Review, the London Review of Booksand Art-agenda. Cora’s scholarship finds expression in her own visual art practice; she is currently working on a series of pictorial photographs using 19th century processes, and performs under the name Fauness.
Cora’s research explores continuities between historic and contemporary, ancient and modern. Her doctoral project on the surprisingly under-researched classical nude in late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth century British art led to her first book, The Classical Body in Romantic Britain, and a broader interest in neglected chapters in the history of visual classicism. As a scholar of BIPOC heritage, she seeks to reconcile decolonial approaches with traditional art historical areas of concern. With support from the Henry Moore Foundation, she is currently at work on a second book project on adaptations of Greco-Roman art, particularly marble sculpture, among artists of African and indigenous American descent including Mary Edmonia Lewis, Augusta Savage, Selma Burke, Carrie Mae Weems, and Kara Walker. She has collaborated with the photographer Ingrid Pollard on a project exploring the image and experience of black figures in rural England, and has recently edited a book for Isaac Julien CBE RA in conjunction with the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester, New York, on the life of the freedom fighter Frederick Douglass, the most photographed man the 19th century America.
Her work with both Pollard and Julien has informed a new project Cora is working on alongside her next book. Illustrated by her own pictorial photographs, “The Lost Pleiad” is a speculative visual and verbal history of the conditions that would have allowed a black female visual artist to become known in 19th century England, and the conditions that inhibited the emergence of such a figure. Expanding the category of “artist”, the project aims to create space for new ways of writing, and presenting, the history of art.
Cora has held grants and received funding from the AHRC, the Yale Centre for British Art, the Huntington Library, the Marc Fitch Fund and the Henry Moore Foundation.
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