Dr Tom Young

Lecturer in Nineteenth-Century Art Histories

Tom joined the Courtauld as Lecturer in Nineteenth-Century Art Histories in 2023. Prior to that, he was a Leverhulme Fellow at the University of Warwick, the project curator of the British Museum’s exhibition Tantra: Enlightenment to Revolution, a curator at Lakeland Arts, and a lecturer at the University of Warsaw. He has held fellowships at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence, the Huntington Library, and the Yale Center for British Art. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in 2023.

His first book, Unmaking the East India Company: British Art and Political Reform in Colonial India, c.1813–1858, was published in June 2023 by the Paul Mellon Centre, Yale University Press. It explores how art shaped the nationalisation of the East India Company between the loss of its primary monopoly in 1813 and the British state’s direct assumption of colonial rule in 1858. Challenging the idea that parliament drove political reform, it argues instead that the Company’s political legitimacy was destabilised by a novel mode of artistic production in colonial India—the result of new technologies like lithography and steam navigation, middle-class print formats like the periodical, the scrapbook, and the literary annual, as well as the prevalence of amateur sketching among Company employees.

His second book, Lithography and the Modern World, c.1796–1914, is in preparation. Lithography’s global artistic impact has never previously been charted, despite the technology enabling the first truly international decentralisation of popular media. The book will explore how the technology’s invention catalysed dramatic cultural and political upheavals across the globe, giving rise to modern ideas and institutions. With societies reeling from the impact of contemporary social media technologies, the book would form the first attempt to map how this earlier revolution in popular media stimulated novel identities, religions, and ideas.

He is currently writing about nineteenth-century Polish art and researching the artistic histories of free ports and special economic zones.