PhD Research Collaborations

Elizabeth Heath is working with the National Portrait Gallery and the University of Sussex to investigate the professional practice of the NPG’s first Director Sir George Scharf, primarily utilizing the Scharf Archive held in the Gallery’s Heinz Archive & Library. Her thesis is the first in-depth study of Scharf’s career and influence over the length of his 40-year tenure.

As a Collaborative Doctoral Award student with the National Portrait Gallery and the University of Bristol, Tessa Kilgarriff conducts research for her AHRC-funded project, provisionally entitled “The production, transmission and reception of engraved and photographic theatrical portraits in the mid-19th century and their contribution to the promotion of celebrity”. Her doctoral research explores the production, dissemination and reception of theatrical portraiture in Britain c.1830-1870 and considers painted, printed and photographic portraits. Particular focuses of the project include the intersection of visual culture and celebrity, conventions of pose and the impact of technical innovation upon theatrical portraits.

As a Collaborative Doctoral Award student with the National Portrait Gallery and Queen Mary University, London, Georgia Haseldine conducts research for her AHRC-funded project entitled “Radical Portraiture 1789-1819”. Her doctoral research explores how the democratic reform movement, which campaigned for universal male suffrage in Britain, used portraits as protest objects to communicate their politically radical aims. Within British radical circles, portraits defined a sense of radical identity. Loyalists, who opposed the reform of parliament, satirised radicals and the monstrous depictions of key radical figures is the subject of large swathes of caricatures popular at the time. Using the National Portrait Gallery’s Collection as its starting point, this project assesses whether portraits of and for radicals created a distinctive ‘radical aesthetic’ and will chart the importance of portraiture within the visual and material cultures of radicalism in the late 18th and early 19th century.

Katherine Gazzard is working with the National Portrait Gallery, the National Maritime Museum and the University of East Anglia on her PhD project, which is provisionally entitled ‘Portraiture and the British naval officer, c.1740‑1805’. Her doctoral research investigates the production, consumption and display of painted and printed portraits of commissioned Royal Navy officers in the eighteenth century. Focussing on the years in which Britain emerged as the world’s dominant maritime power, She is interested in exploring the transformative changes that were simultaneously taking place in the Navy and in the British art world in this period.

In October 2016, we will welcome Jessica Rosenthal McGrath to begin work on ‘’Redeeming Death’: Mortality, Portraiture, and the Quest for Salvation in Tudor England and Wales’; she will be supervised in collaboration with the University of Swansea.