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Dr Grace BrockingtonB.A.(Pembroke), M.A.(Courtauld), D.Phil.(Oxon.)

Senior Lecturer in History of Art

Grace Brockington

Dr Grace BrockingtonB.A.(Pembroke), M.A.(Courtauld), D.Phil.(Oxon.)

Senior Lecturer in History of Art

Member of

Research interests

My research centres on the relationship between art and politics in European (especially British) art of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The interplay between art and internationalism has been a particular preoccupation, leading to a diverse range of enquiry into topics such as universal visual languages, symbolist puppetry, European peace movements, the politics of art for art’s sake, and art and war. My research has been supported by several externally-awarded prizes and grants, including a Philip Leverhulme Prize, an AHRC Early Career Fellowship, and a Visiting Scholarship at the Yale Center for British Art.

I have developed my interests collaboratively, as Principal Investigator of the AHRC-funded research network Internationalism and Cultural Exchange, 1870-1920 (ICE,, and as General Editor of the book series Internationalism and the Arts at the Fin de Siècle, published by Peter Lang; as well as through independent scholarship and publication (see my monograph Above the Battlefield: British Modernism and the Peace Movement, 19001918, 2010), and research-led teaching. Research-based undergraduate courses that I have designed include Art and War, Art and Internationalism, and Art in Britain.

My approach to Art History is informed by methods of verbal analysis, ‘close reading’, and attention to primary source material that I encountered during my undergraduate degree in English literature. These I have developed further through teaching and research in the field of ‘Word & Image’, notably through studies of book illustration, ekphrastic writing, and experimental theatre of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. I welcome opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration, which I pursue through doctoral supervision partnerships (several of my PhD students have been co-supervised with colleagues in other departments), postgraduate teaching (I teach an MA course entitled Word and Image) and research networks such as the ICE project detailed above, and the Bristol-based research cluster Art Writing, Writing Art (

Other methodological questions that currently interest me include ideas of universality, the formation of tradition, and ways of working across the long durée of art history. These I have explored through teaching thematic courses that range widely across time and space e.g. Art and War from Goya’s Los Desastres de la Guerra (1810-1820) to the Chapman Brothers Insult to Injury (2003), and Art in Britain from Hogarth to Grayson Perry; and through a collaborative research project that I am developing with Professor Andrew Ginger on the subject of Universal Visual Languages in Europe, 1887 to 1914. 

Curatorial projects have included the exhibition Literary Circles: Artist, Author, Word and Image in Britain 1800-1920 (Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, 2006) (as part of a curatorial team led by Jane Monroe); and curatorial MA units which I designed and taught, drawing on University of Bristol art collections: Curating the Theatre Collection, and Curating the Prints Collection. I have contributed catalogue essays to and acted as consultant on major public exhibitions such as Beyond Bloomsbury: Designs of the Omega Workshops 1913-19 (Courtauld Institute of Art, 2009) and Vanessa Bell (Dulwich Picture Gallery, forthcoming 2017). And I have worked on public outreach projects with Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery, and the Royal West of England Academy.

Doctoral supervision

I welcome applications from PhD candidates working in any of the research fields outlined above. Current and recent projects supervised include:

  • Art History and subjectivity (co-supervised with Andrew Ginger, completion expected 2018)
  • The Penguin Modern Painters (co-supervised with Stephen Cheeke, AHRC funded, completion expected 2017)
  • Cultural diplomacy and propaganda in Cyprus under British colonial rule (co-supervised with Simon Potter, funded by the Leventis Foundation and the Leverhulme Trust, completion expected 2017)
  • Rereading gender in Victorian painting (co-supervised with James Thompson, AHRC funded, completion expected 2016)
  •  ‘The Double Life of a Still Life’: Vibration, Rhythm and the Poetics of Stillness from Cézanne to Stevens’ (co-supervised with Stephen Cheeke, AHRC funded, completed 2015)
  • ‘Collective Action, Individual Vision: varieties of aesthetic experience in Edwardian painting’ (co-supervised with Stephen Cheeke, completed 2015)
  • ‘A Century of Reinvention: Display policy and practice at the Imperial War Museum, London, 1917-2017’ (co-supervised with Tim Cole, funded by an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award, completed 2015)
  • ‘Archiving the artist: The Graham Sutherland Collection at Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales’ (co-supervised with Elizabeth Prettejohn, funded by an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award, completed 2012)
  • ‘Frederick Sandys and Victorian Illustration’ (co-supervised with Elizabeth Prettejohn, completed 2012)


I teach on European (including British) art from the late C18th to the present. Courses that I have designed include:

  • Art and War (UG, year 2)
  • Art in Britain (UG, year 2)  
  • Art and Internationalism (UG, year 3)
  • Word and Image (MA)
  • Curating the Prints Collection (MA)
  • Curating the Theatre Collection (MA)

Contact details

Room 1.42, 13 Woodland Road, +44 (0)117 331 1221,

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Postal address:
9 Woodland Road
United Kingdom