Caroline Arscott

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Caroline Arscott

Professor of 19th-century British Art
A photograph of Caroline Arscott

Caroline Arscott has lectured at The Courtauld since 1988: extending her study of the Victorian art world from an initial focus on modern life painting in the 1840s and 1850s into work on the pre-Victorian period (in relation to urban topography) and on the late Victorian period (in relation to the Aesthetic Movement). Her publications include articles on a wide range of Victorian artists including William Holman Hunt, Gibson, Millais, Leighton, Poynter, Whistler, Sickert, Tissot, Fildes, Scharf and Frith. She collaborated with Katie Scott in the publication of essays on art and sexuality, Manifestations of Venus (Manchester University Press, Manchester, 2000). In 2008 she published William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones: Interlacings, (Yale University Press, New Haven and London). This book addresses technical features of body building, the armaments industry, horticulture, angling and Victorian tattooing in its discussion of the work of Morris and Burne-Jones. She has an interest in scientific thought and technologies of the nineteenth century and is currently involved in a research collaboration between The Courtauld and University of California, Caltech on art and scientific modelling (Modeling Modelling) and another project with King’s College, London on art, literature and communications technologies of the Victorian period (Scrambled Messages).

She was a member of the Editorial Board of the Oxford Art Journal from 1998-2008 and continues to serve as Advisory Editor. Caroline was also local UK editor for RIHA (2009-2014).  She was a member of the Council of the Paul Mellon Centre Advisory Council (2009-2013).  From 2009 until 2014 she was Head of Research at The Courtauld with responsibility for the Research Forum programme of activities and for The Courtauld’s research strategy and Research Excellence Framework (REF) submission.  She was Senior Fellow at the Paul Mellon Centre for the Study of British Art in 2014-15, preparing a book on art and science in the 1870s.



On research leave 2015-16.

PhD students


  • Carey Gibbons, ‘Victorian Illustration: Arthur Hughes and Frederick Sandys’
  • Lily Foster, ‘Painting the Modern Apartment: Domestic Interiors by Harold Gilman and Edouard Vuillard, 1910-1919’
  • Natalie Hume, ‘The Graphic Representation of America in Britain, 1865–1900’
  • Thomas Hughes, ‘The language of art writing in the later nineteenth century’

Recently completed

  • Marion Richards, ‘Salon Criticism of French Landscape Painting, 1855-1867’
  • Anna Kirk, ‘”Composed of the same materials” : like-dressing and the dress of the doppelgänger in Victorian art and culture, c.1855 – c.1885’
  • Katie Faukner, ‘The Wrapped Body in the New Sculpture Movement (1880-1900)’
  • Freya Roo Gunzi, ‘Stanhope A. Forbes: Constructing Newlyn, 1885-1911’
  • Esmé Whittaker, ‘The Arts and Crafts house in the Lake District: buildings, landscapes and communities’
  • Ayla Lepine, ‘Sacred beauty : George Frederick Bodley’s designs for Oxford and Cambridge, 1858-1907’
  • Keren Hammerschlag, ‘Death and violence in the art of Frederic Leighton’
  • Lucetta Johnson, ‘Beyond the hairline : the representation of hair in the work of Gabriel Dante Rossetti’

Recent publications


  • Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris: Interlacings, Yale University Press, New Haven & London, 2008.

Essays and articles

  • Morris Carpets’, RIHA Journal 0089, Special Issue When Art History Meets Design History (27 March 2014 2014), edited by Anne Puetz and Glenn Adamson, unpaginated
  • ‘William Morris, Ornament and the Coordinates of the Body’, in Warren Carter, Barnaby Haran and Frederic J. Schwartz (eds), ReNew Marxist Art History, Art/Books, London 2014, pp. 246-56.
  • Subject and Object in Whistler: the Context of Physiological Aesthetics’, in Lee Glazer and Linda Merrill (eds), Palaces of Art: Whistler and the Art Worlds of Aestheticism, Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press, Washington, 2013, pp. 55-66.
  • ‘William Morris’s Tapestry: Metamorphosis and Prophecy in The Woodpecker”, in Art History, C. Hunter and F. Lucchini (eds), Special Issue: The Clever Object, 36:1, June 2013, pp. 608-25.
  • ‘George Scharf and the Archaeology of the Modern’ in George Scharf: From the Regency Street to the Modern Metropolis, exhibition catalogue, London, John Soane Museum, 2009, pp. 26-41.
  • Walter Sickert and Roger Fry: “Alight Here for Whiteley’s”’, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 75th Anniversary Issue, 2008, pp. 295-314.
  • Mutability and Deformity: Models of the Body and the Art of Edward Burne-Jones’, Nineteen: Interdsiciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century , Special Issue: Minds, Bodies, Machines, Issue 7 (October 2008)

Recent/major grants

  • Principal Investigator, Scrambled Messages: The Telegraphic Imaginary 1857-1900, four-year collaborative AHRC-funded project with co-investigators Professor Clare Pettitt (English, King’s College London) and Professor Mark Miodownik (Engineering, Materials Science, University College London)
  • Senior Fellow Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, USA Sep-Nov 2014
  • Senior Fellow, Paul Mellon Centre for Study of British Art, London 2014-15

Other current/ongoing professional activities

  • Editorial Group Member Oxford Art Journal (1998-2008), ongoing Advisory Editor.

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