The Role of Collectors, Critics and Curators in Artistic Practice c.1780 -1914


University of York, Berrick Saul Building: Wednesday 26th June 2013, 13.00-19.00

In May 1884 the art critic Marion Harry Spielmann wrote in defence of the often criticised profession of art criticism: ‘The critic – (I am not now referring to the mere notice writer of daily journalism) – spends his life in devotion not only to art but to artists: and, so far as public recognition is concerned, he reaps his reward in sneers and ‘chaff’: sneers from painters, thoughtless and irresponsible, like Mr Whistler; indifference from others less splenetic and querulous.’ Spielmann, a prolific author, editor and arts administrator, was an advocate for and close friend of numerous contemporary artists. Along with the collectors and curators whom he frequently worked with and wrote about, he was an active and influential participant in contemporary art practice in late-Victorian London.

Relationships between artists, collectors, critics and curators are often considered in isolation but rarely in tandem. Drawing upon a diverse range of case studies, covering a variety of local and global contexts, this one day post-graduate workshop aims to unpick consistencies, changes and crossovers in the sometimes fraught but often productive relationships between artists, collectors, critics and curators in the long nineteenth century. By bringing together students, early-career researchers and established academics and curators, we hope the workshop will provide an informal but stimulating forum for conversation, debate and interdisciplinary exchange about the nineteenth-century art world and its constituents.


Panel 1            Chair: (tbc)

 -13.00-13.20    Cam Sharp-Jones (British Museum): Artists in the Service of the Raj? Collecting, Patronage and Artistic Agency Within the Company School.

-13.20-13.40     Freya Gowrley (Edinburgh): Eloquent objects: collecting and the Grand Tour souvenir at A la Ronde, Devon.

 -13.40-14.00   Patricia Morales (Warwick): Connoisseurs sans connaissance: the British Institution and the Royal Academy, 1805-1816.

  -14.00-14.30   Questions

 -14.30-14.50     Break

Panel 2           Chair: Eoin Martin (Warwick)

 -14.50-15.10     Charlotte Drew (York): J.C. Robinson: Curator, Collector, Critic.

-15.10-15.30     Tom Stammers (Durham): Anatomy of the Sale of the Century: The Spitzer Scandal of 1893.

-15.30-15.50     Desiree de Chaire (Warwick): Seeking Royal Patronage: The artistic relationship between Frederic Leighton and the Prince of Wales.

 -15.50-16.20   Questions

-16.20-16.40    Break

Panel 3           Chair: Professor Jason Edwards (York)

-16.40-17.00    Melanie Polledri (York): William Goscombe John & Lord Leverhulme.

-17.00-17.20    Sarah Turner (York): Ananda Coomaraswamy: art writing, art worlds and Indian sculpture in the early twentieth century.

-17.20-17.40     Sam Shaw (York): ‘That notable fraternity’?: Combining the roles of collector, artist, critic and administrator in turn-of-the-century London.

-17.40-18.10     Questions

-18.15-1915.      Wine reception

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