John Chu

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Dr John Chu

Associate Lecturer

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John Chu is Assistant Curator of Pictures and Sculpture at the National Trust and is teaching at The Courtauld Institute of Art as an Associate Lecturer in 2016/17. He read English Literature at the University of Cambridge before pursuing postgraduate studies in the History of Art at The Courtauld. Having specialised in eighteenth-century British and French art during his masters’ degree, he gained his doctorate in 2015 for ‘The Fortunes of Fancy Painting in Eighteenth-Century England’. He is currently writing a book on the same subject with a Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art.


  • BA Topic: ‘Hogarth in London’

Research interests

  • Eighteenth-Century British and French Art
  • Genre Painting
  • Social History of Art and Collecting
  • History of Art and Economics

Recent publications



‘Un allez-retour pour Knole: Thomas Gainsborough’s Portrait of the Marquis de Champcenetz’, National Trust Historic Houses and Collections Annual, June 2016

‘High Art and High Stakes : The 3rd Duke of Dorset’s Gamble on Reynolds’, British Art Studies, II, April 2016

‘Les fenêtres du possible : La Figure de fantaisie et l’esprit d’entreprise au début du XVIIIème siècle’ in Figures de fantaisie, eds. Melissa Percival and Axel Hémery, exhibition catalogue (Toulouse: Musée des Augustins, 2015)

‘Reynolds and Fancy Painting in the 1770s’ in Joshua Reynolds: Experiments in Paint, eds. Mark Hallett and Lucy Davis, exhibition catalogue (London: Wallace Collection, 2015)


‘Houghton Revisited: Masterpieces from the Hermitage, Houghton Hall, Norfolk’ for The British Society of Eighteenth-Century Studies: Fine Art Reviews, 24 July 2013

‘George Catlin: American Indian Portraits, National Portrait Gallery, London’ for The Art Newspaper, 8 May 2013

‘Constable, Gainsborough, Turner and the Making of Landscape, Royal Academy of Arts, London’ for The British Society of Eighteenth-Century Studies: Fine Art Reviews, 31 December 2012

Recent/major grants

  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, 2016-17
  • Gainsborough: ‘In Focus’ Interdisciplinary Research Project – Tate, 2015-16

Other professional activity

  • Assistant Curator of Pictures and Sculpture, National Trust
  • Steering Committee Member, Understanding British Portraits: Special Subject Network

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