Esther Chadwick is a specialist in eighteenth-century British art. She studied Art History at the University of Cambridge and completed her doctorate at Yale University in 2016. She has held fellowships at the Paul Mellon Centre in London, the Huntington Library, California, the Lewis Walpole Library, Connecticut, and in 2013-2016 was Paul Mellon Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, Washington D.C. Before joining the Courtauld, she was a curator in the Department of Prints and Drawings at the British Museum.
Esther is interested in eighteenth-century image-making in all its forms. Her research addresses the political agency of art in the age of revolutions, the materiality of printed images, the visual culture of transatlantic enslavement, and cross-cultural artistic encounters. She is interested in the global contexts of British art and is currently working on the cultural connections between Britain and Haiti in the years after the Haitian Revolution. In 2014, she co-curated Figures of Empire: Slavery and Portraiture in Eighteenth-Century Atlantic Britain with Meredith Gamer and Cyra Levenson at the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven. At the British Museum in 2018, she curated A revolutionary legacy: Haiti and Toussaint Louverture. Esther is currently working on a book that examines the role of printmaking in forging new forms of criticality in the work of British artists, entitled The Radical Print: Art and Critique in Late Eighteenth-Century Britain. With Professor David Bindman, she is co-curating a major exhibition on William Blake at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (2024).
- BA1: The Possibilities of Portraiture
- BA2: Artists, Radicals, Mystics: European Art c. 1800
- BA3: The Global Print
- BA3: Lessons in Critical Interpretation
- MA Special Option Circum-Atlantic visual culture, c. 1770-1830
- MA Curating the Art Museum, Spring term module, ‘Language and Interpretation’
Upcoming and recent publications
- ‘Portraiture in Indigenous London: Mohawks at the British Museum in 1776,’ Commentaries: Art Institutions and Race in the Atlantic World, 1750-1850, American Art, Vol. 36, no. 2 (Summer 2022): https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/full/10.1086/720912
- ‘Patterned with Paper Pictures: The Print Room at Petworth House’, Art and the Country House, Paul Mellon Centre, 2020: https://doi.org/10.17658/ACH/PTE531
- ‘Notes on A Revolutionary Legacy: Haiti and Toussaint Louverture,’ Third Text, vol. 33, no. 4-5 (November 2019), pp. 501-520
- ‘Bewick’s “Little Whimsies”: Printmaking, Paper Money and Currency Radicalism in Early Nineteenth-Century Britain,’ Art History, vol. 41, no. 1 (February 2018), pp. 42-71.
- ‘1776’; ‘1787’; ‘1797’, Royal Academy Chronicle: 1769-2018, Paul Mellon Centre online resource, ed. Mark Hallett and Sarah Victoria Turner (2018): https://chronicle250.com/
- “This deepe and perfect glosse of Blacknesse”: Colour, Colonialism, and The Paston Treasure’s Period Eye,’ in The Paston Treasure: Microcosm of the Known World, ed. Andrew Moore, Nathan Flis and Francesca Vanke (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2018)
Book and exhibition reviews
- ‘Slavery Through Imperial Eyes,’ review of Sarah Thomas, Witnessing Slavery: Art and Travel in the Age of Abolition (Yale UP, 2019) in Art History, August 2020, pp. 873-878
- ‘William Blake, Tate Britain, London,’ exhibition review, Burlington Magazine, no. 161, November 2019, pp. 954-956
- A Revolutionary Legacy: Haiti and Toussaint Louverture, British Museum, 2018
- Co-curated with Meredith Gamer and Cyra Levenson, Figures of Empire: Slavery and Portraiture in Eighteenth-Century Atlantic Britain, Yale Center for British Art, 2014
Writing for a wider public
•Damiët Schneeweisz, ‘A History of the Portrait Miniature in the Atlantic Ocean World, 1770-1830’ (CHASE funded)