Reynolds and his circle
Weekend art history course
30 September 2023 10am - 5pm1 October 2023 10am - 5pm
Wolfson British Academy Room | Burlington Gardens
£420. Includes light refreshments and a wine reception at the end of day one.
Friends of the RA book first
2023 is the 300th anniversary of the birth of the Royal Academy’s first President, Sir Joshua Reynolds. This two-day art history weekend explores the life and work of one of Britain’s most important artists.
This course offers participants an in-depth insight into Sir Joshua Reynolds PRA and his work – via lectures, talks and archive visits from leading art historians and experts.
The weekend contextualises the many paintings and prints of Reynolds, looking at his work through various prisms: from the importance of his portraiture and the rise of celebrity culture, to questions of Britishness and empire. We explore what it meant to be Britain’s leading artist at the end of the eighteenth century and learn about his intrinsic role in the creation of the Royal Academy of Arts.
The course offers an opportunity to understand the milieu in which Reynolds was working and covers his artistic contemporaries and followers such as Thomas Gainsborough, Angelica Kauffman and Sir Thomas Lawrence. As well as providing a snapshot of the artistic life of eighteenth-century society, the course also takes an object-based approach – looking at some of Reynolds’ most famous works in depth and includes a visit to the RA archive to see ephemera related to the artist and the founding of the RA. No prior knowledge is required and debate and discussion are encouraged.
Minimum age 18. If you have any access requirements that you’d like to discuss, please contact email@example.com.
About the speakers
Dr Martin Postle is Senior Research Fellow at the Paul Mellon Centre. Prior to his present appointment as Senior Research Fellow in October 2021, Martin was Deputy Director for Grants and Publications at the Centre. Between 1998 and 2007 he worked at Tate as Senior Curator and Head of British Art to 1900. Martin’s publications include Sir Joshua Reynolds: The Subject Pictures (Cambridge University Press 1995), Gainsborough (Tate and Princeton University Press 2002), and, with David Mannings, Sir Joshua Reynolds: A Complete Catalogue of his Paintings (Yale University Press 2000). Among the exhibitions he has curated are Joshua Reynolds: The Creation of Celebrity (Tate Britain and Palazzo dei Diamanti, Ferrara 2005) and Johan Zoffany, RA: Society Observed (Yale Center for British Art and the Royal Academy of Arts, London 2011–2012). Martin is currently in the early stages of preparing a catalogue raisonne of the oil paintings of Joseph Wright of Derby, to be published by the Paul Mellon Centre.
Mark Pomeroy has been Archivist of the Royal Academy since 1998. He completed post-graduate training in Archive Administration at Aberystwyth University in 1996 and was then appointed the first ever records manager to the UK Parliament. Since joining the Royal Academy Mark has extended records management to every corner of the RA, overseen the conservation of the RA's archives, developed an innovative on-line catalogue to serve the needs of a global research community, and provided a home for the archives under his care with the completion of a bespoke repository. Mark has written extensively on subjects bearing on the history of the Royal Academy, most recently making contributions to the History of the Royal Academy (PMC/Yale) and the Paul Mellon Centre's Summer Exhibition Chronicle. His edited Letters of James Northcote (co-authored with Jonathan Yarker) is forthcoming. Mark sits of the Archives & Heritage Committee of BAFTA and is a regular lecturer for The Archives Skills Consultancy.
Dr Hannah Lyons is Curator of Art at the University of Reading. She is responsible for caring for, developing, and presenting the University of Reading’s Art Collection, as well as managing the University’s Public Art programme. Previously she worked in curatorial roles at Royal Museums Greenwich, Tate, and the University of Oxford. Her broad professional and research interests include British art, works on paper, as well as contemporary art and visual culture. She has a special interest in printmaking and eighteenth-century women artists, which was the subject of her AHRC-funded PhD at Birkbeck, University of London and the V&A.
Dr Nicholas Cullinan took up his position as the Director of the National Portrait Gallery in spring 2015 following his role as Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Prior to this, from 2007 to 2013, Nicholas was Curator of International Modern Art at Tate Modern where he co-curated an exhibition of Henri Matisse's cut-outs with Sir Nicholas Serota in 2014. Nicholas received his BA, MA and PhD in art history from the Courtauld Institute of Art in London and in 2006–7 he held the Hilla Rebay International Fellowship at the Guggenheim museums in Bilbao, New York and Venice.
Will Iron is a cultural historian with particular interest in the fashion, art and literature of the eighteenth century. He is Public Programmes Manager at the Royal Academy of Arts, where he leads the ongoing series of art and cultural history courses, lectures and academic conferences. Previously he worked at the British Fashion Council. He studied at Central Saint Martins and King’s College London.
Michael I. Ohajuru is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Senior Fellow of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies and holds Honours degrees in Physics and Art History. He blogs, writes and speaks regularly on the Black presence in Renaissance Europe. He is the founder of Image of the Black in London Galleries, the Project Director and Chief Evangelist of The John Blanke Project, an art and archive project celebrating John Blanke, the Black trumpeter to courts of Henry VII and Henry VIII. He is the co-convener of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies What’s Happening in Black British History series of workshops and founding member of the Black Presence in British Portraiture network.
Annette Wickham is Curator of Works on Paper for the Royal Academy Collection. She has curated numerous exhibitions and displays at the Academy, including John Gibson RA: A British Sculptor in Rome, Daniel Maclise: The Waterloo Cartoon, and Mali Morris RA Selects. She publishes on aspects of the history of the Royal Academy, its Schools and its Collections.
Jonny Yarker is a leading dealer in British art, he has written extensively on British art of the eighteenth century and the Grand Tour in particular. He is currently working on a book-length study of the British community in Rome entitled: Savage Pilgrims: Rome and the Grand Tour 1750 – 1798.
Our courses and classes programme
Our varied programme of short courses and classes provides an opportunity to explore subjects ranging from life drawing to the history of exhibitions and arts management, led by expert tutors and practising artists. These courses introduce traditional art-making processes, as well as perspectives on art history, theory and business.
Give this course as a gift
All of our courses can be purchased as a gift for a friend or family member – giving the gift of education and a remarkable experience. To arrange a personalised Gift Voucher, please contact the Academic Programmes Team, by calling 020 7300 5641 or email firstname.lastname@example.org