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Dr Suzanne Fagence Cooper
Honorary Visiting Fellow



BA (Oxon), MA (London), PhD (V&A Museum / Brunel)

Dr Suzanne Fagence Cooper is an Honorary Visiting Fellow in the Department of the History of Art.

Her research is focused on 19th and 20th Century British art and design, with a special interest in the history of women and the interior. Her doctoral research considered the relationship between art and music in Pre-Raphaelite and Aesthetic art, and she has continued her interdisciplinary approach in her work on Burne-Jones and William Morris, Rossetti and Millais, and photographers Cameron and Hawarden.

She was a curator and Research Fellow at the V&A Museum for 12 years.  At the V&A she worked in the Exhibitions team, and on the 19th century British Galleries redisplay.  She was closely involved with a number of exhibitions including ‘Carl and Karin Larsson’, ‘The Power of the Poster’, and ‘Christopher Dresser’.  She was a consultant for the exhibition on ‘The Cult of Beauty: Aestheticism in Britain’ (2011), and in 2001 co-curated ‘Inventing New Britain: the Victorian Vision’.

She was convenor and Chair of ‘The Victorian Interior’ conference at V&A Museum (2003), and convenor of ‘The Heart of England: art, design and the landscape’ study day in 2005.  In 2006-7 she organised a series of interdisciplinary workshops with the Royal College of Music on ‘The Music Room: music and the domestic interior’.

In 2010-11, Dr Fagence Cooper was an associate lecturer in the Faculty of Art at the University of Bern, offering an MA module related to the ‘Aestheticism in Britain’ exhibition at the V&A.  From 2013-2014 she was Course Director at the Halcyon Gallery in New Bond Street.  Here she developed her interest in 20th century and contemporary art.

She has worked as a consultant for a number of TV and film projects including ‘Simon Schama’s History of Britain’.  In 2012 she was historical consultant to Ralph Fiennes, director of ‘The Invisible Woman’, for a film about Charles Dickens.  She is also an advisor for the BBC drama series, ‘The Living and the Dead’, (forthcoming 2016). 

She lectures for Cunard and NADFAS, and is a tour director for Ace Cultural Tours.



Dr Fagence Cooper’s current research interests include ‘The Woman Question’: a study of unconventional women’s lives from 1868-1918.  She is also working on Eric Ravilious and his circle.  She has a continuing interest in the relationship between the visual arts, literature and music.


Selected publications

Dr Fagence Cooper published her biography of Effie Gray, wife of John Ruskin and then John Everett Millais, in 2010.  Her previous books include Pre-Raphaelite Art in the Victoria and Albert Museum (2003).  This study presented works of art in many media which had not been previously photographed or researched.  It covered textiles, ceramics, furniture, book illustrations, and jewellery as well as paintings and works on paper. 

In conjunction with the 2001 exhibition ‘The Victorian Vision’, she published The Victorian Woman, and co-authored The Victorians at home and abroad with Paul Atterbury.

Her articles include ‘The Liquefaction of Desire: Music, Water and Femininity in Victorian Aestheticism’, in Women: a cultural review, August 2009 and ‘Aspiring to the Condition of Music: Painting in Britain 1860-1900’ in ed. Dibble and Zon, Nineteenth Century British Music Studies (2002).  She has also written for APOLLO, with ‘The British School at the Manchester Art Treasures Exhibition of 1857’ published in 2001.  Her essay, ‘Through the Looking Glass: photographs by Clementina, Lady Hawarden 1822-1864’, is forthcoming from Ashgate in a collection on ‘The Gendered Interior’.

Dr Fagence Cooper reviews books and exhibitions for the Church Times.



Suzanne Fagence Cooper is co-teaching an MA module, The Art of the Pre-Raphaelites.

She has previously taught at the University of Bern and Buckinghamshire New University.

External activities

Invited talks and conferences

Dr Fagence Cooper is an invited speaker for Cunard.  She is also a lecturer for NADFAS, and gives talks on 19th and 20th century art to Societies from Edinburgh to Gibraltar.  She has worked as an historical consultant for the BBC, Channel 4 and on film projects. She is a member of the Ruskin Today network.

Suzanne Fagence Cooper

Contact details

Dr Suzanne Fagence Cooper
Honorary Visiting Fellow
Department of History of Art