AHRC PhD Studentship

AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership PhD Studentship in collaboration with The National Gallery and the University of Leeds

The School of Fine Art, History of Art & Cultural Studies at the University of Leeds and The National Gallery are pleased to announce a funded PhD studentship for doctoral research, awarded under the AHRC’s Collaborative Doctoral Partnership Scheme.

Collecting Continental Old Masters at Harewood House, Yorkshire: conflicts and convergences over contemporary art and national heritage and European and American cultural relations in the British art world, 1880-1950

The proactive collecting practices of Henry Viscount Lascelles (later 6th Earl of Harewood), of Old Masters during and after WW1 is an extraordinary episode in the history of collecting in Britain. The 6th Earl’s acquisitions are significant in a number of ways. In the first instance, he was acquiring art at a time when many country-house owners were disposing of individual masterpieces or their entire art collections; the extensive run of purchases for Chesterfield House, London, and subsequently for Harewood House, Yorkshire, of important works by early Italian masters such as Bellini and Cima as well as later painters including Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese and El Greco illustrates the breadth and depth of the 6th Earl’s collecting activities. Whilst some scholarly attention has been paid to the patterns of disposal of Old Master paintings from aristocratic collections, a process that started with the high profile sales from Hamilton Palace in 1882, and was reinforced in the aftermath of the Great War when many country houses and their London town-house equivalents were sold or demolished, little scholarly attention has been paid to the acquisition of Old Masters in British private collections during the first half of the 20th century. The 6th Earl’s collecting activities were highly distinctive and challenge the conventional understanding that the traffic in ‘Old Master’ paintings was exclusively one-way, from Britain to the USA, in the period. The research project will complement the work being undertaken on the development of national and regional museum collections in the period 1880s-1950s and offers the opportunity to reconsider the British market for Old Master paintings against the broader landscape of the ‘heritage debate’ and the increasing dominance of the notion of cultural heritage exemplified by newly-established instruments such as the NACF and Export Review Committee.

The project is flexible enough to allow a student to develop their own ideas within this broad framework. Key research questions would centre round: the mechanics of Old Master art market; relations between London and the regions; the tensions between tradition and modernity in art collecting and patronage; the promotion of the arts in the private and public spheres in the early to mid-20th century in Britain; and Anglo-European and American cultural relations at this time.

Subject to AHRC eligibility criteria, the award will cover tuition fees and a standard AHRC grant (stipend) towards living expenses for three years. The 2019/20 the stipend is £15,009 p.a. plus £550 additional stipend payment for Collaborative Doctoral Students. In addition, the student will receive additional support towards further research expenses from The National Gallery over the course of the research studentship. The successful applicant will be able to participate in additional training and other opportunities provided to CDP students by the National Gallery CDP Consortium and receive a National Gallery staff pass, access to a workspace, research library access and staff privileges. The student will also have access to all of the research support provided to PGR students at the University of Leeds and be part of the Centre for the Study of the Art & Antiques Market (csaam.leeds.ac.uk) in the School of Fine Art, History of Art & Cultural Studies.

The studentship will be supervised by Dr Mark Westgarth, University of Leeds, and Dr Susanna Avery-Quash at the National Gallery, London and will begin 1 October 2019.

Applicants should have a good undergraduate degree in History, Art History, Museum Studies or another relevant discipline, satisfy AHRC eligibility requirements including Masters-level advanced research training or equivalent, and be able to demonstrate an active interest in museums and archival research. UK applicants will be eligible for a full award paying tuition fees and maintenance. European Union applicants will be eligible for an award paying tuition fees only, except in exceptional circumstances, or where residency has been established for more than 3 years prior to the start of the course.

For more information on how to apply for this studentship, the deadline for which is 5pm Friday 10th May 2019 see the University of Leeds Scholarships website – an application form for PhD study is available on the website.

In place of the standard personal statement and research proposal, please construct an alternative, two-page statement to convey your motivation and enthusiasm for this project, and to demonstrate your suitability for your intended studies at the University of Leeds and The National Gallery. It should include examples that draw on relevant work, voluntary or study experiences and illustrate the transferable skills you will use when you become a CDP student (for example, time management, project management, communication skills, problem solving and working with museum collections).

It should include the following:

  • Your interest in this project and details on why you have chosen the University of Leeds and The National Gallery
  • How you will apply your current skills, knowledge and experience to undertaking a PhD and completing this project
  • Success and achievements that are relevant to the course and show your aptitude for study
  • How the research project fits into your career plans and ambitions

Please note that two references will be required. See the application form for details.

The completed application form and both references must be received by the deadline of 5pm Friday 10th May 2019. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure referees submit references on time.

Interviews are scheduled to be held at The National Gallery on Friday 17th May 2019.