Giovanni Antonio Canaletto (1697 - 1768), View from Somerset Gardens looking towards London Bridge, 1746 - 1755 (circa)

Saturday Study

On campus and online

Saturday Study delivers short, intensive and, we hope, enjoyable events that help to give further context to our temporary exhibitions or use selected works from our permanent collections as starting points for the investigation of significant art-historical themes.

Saturday Study events take in the Lecture Theatre at Vernon Square; they will also be recorded and made available online from the following Monday. Saturday Study aims to be as accessible as possible and offers concessions to recipients of Universal or Pension Credit and to full-time students. Companions of disabled participants are given free access. Refreshments and entry to The Courtauld Gallery are included in the course fee for on-campus attendees.

Study events happen on a Saturday morning or afternoon once a term.

HOLD THE DATE: In the autumn, our Saturday Study will take place on 30 November, from 10.30 (registration) until 1.15pm and explore and contextualise the exhibition Monet and London: Views of the Thames. Booking will open shortly.

Vanessa Bell: A Pioneer of Modern Art - In Context

Saturday 22 June 2024
Dr Rachel Sloan and Dr Wendy Hitchmough

On campus at Vernon Square
11:00 – 13:15
£40 and £30 (concessions)
Online as a recording
£10 and £5 (concessions)

Course description

Our summer term Saturday Study event accompanies The Courtauld Gallery’s first focused display of works by the important Bloomsbury artist and designer Vanessa Bell.

We’ll investigate Bell’s artistic development and milieu in the context of the wider British art world of the time, ask what it took to be a pioneering woman artist at the time, what we understand by Modernism in Britain in the early years of the 20th century and in what ways Bell, and the Bloomsbury group more widely, contributed to it.  We’ll weigh the benefits of belonging to a collaborative avant-garde group against the disadvantages of later commentators’ excessive focus on the Bloomsbury artists’ notoriously unorthodox private lives, and ask why it took so long for female artists like Bell to step out of the shadow of her better-known male colleagues.

Speakers are the exhibition curator Dr Rachel Sloan (The Courtauld) and Dr Wendy Hitchmough (formerly curator at the Bloomsbury artists’ home, Charleston, and senior lecturer emerita at the University of Sussex).

Moderator: Dr Anne Puetz

Booking required; the event fee for on-campus attendance includes admission on the day to the display Vanessa Bell: A Pioneer of Modern Art.

Booking for online access remains open until the end of the display (6 October 2024). The lecture recordings will be sent on Wednesday 26 June, or within five days for those booking after the 26 June, and will be accessible for 10 days from delivery.

How to book

To book your chosen course(s) please use the book now button below and you will be taken to our booking system where you can book and pay (Visa / Mastercard / GooglePay / ApplePay).

At checkout, you will be prompted to login (if you have previously booked gallery tickets) or to register and create a new account.

(Please note: this ticketing login is not the same as your short courses VLE login if you have one).

Once you have made your selection, your chosen course(s) will be added to your shopping basket which has a timer of 20 minutes, after which time your basket will be cleared and you will need to start again. The timer starts from when you put an item in the basket (not when you login or register).

If you have any questions please email us at

Frank Auerbach. The Charcoal Heads – In Context

Saturday 23 March 2024
Dr Barnaby Wright and Jane Alison

On campus at Vernon Square
14:00 – 16:15
£40 and £30 (concessions)
Online as a recording
£10 and £5 (concessions)

Booking for the on campus event is now closed; however, you can still book for online access below until 27 May 2024.

Course description

Our next Saturday Study event accompanies The Courtauld Gallery’s spring exhibition Frank Auerbach. The Charcoal Heads.

Uniquely, this show brings together a series of large-scale portrait drawings of the artist’s friends, and one self-portrait, accompanied by a selection of related paintings the artist made of the same sitters. Join exhibition curator Dr Barnaby Wright and independent curator and writer Jane Alison to explore these poignant images over which the artist took evident care, characteristically re-working them in numerous sessions with the sitters.  We shall also set these works of the 1950s and early 1960s into the context of post-war British portraiture.

Booking required; the event fee for on-campus attendance includes admission on the day to the exhibition Frank Auerbach. The Charcoal Heads – In Context.

Booking for online access remains open until the end of the exhibition (27 May 2024). The lecture recordings will be sent on Tuesday 26 March, or within five days for those booking after the 26th, and will be accessible for 8 days from delivery.

Archive of previous Study Events

“An Object of National Splendour”: Somerset House and the British Empire

The Courtauld Gallery reopened its doors to the public on 19 November. As audiences return to its home in Somerset House, our Study Day explores this magnificent building in depth. Somerset House was the most significant public building project in Britain in the late eighteenth century, and originally housed a number of key government offices, including the headquarters of the Navy Board, alongside England’s major learned societies. Our Study Day investigates the building’s sophisticated construction and external ornamentation, as well as its function and symbolic role within a wider network of British imperial spaces and architectures.

Speakers: Kyle Leyden, Dr Emily Mann, Dr Anne Puetz

Moderated by Dr Anne Puetz

Saturday 11 December 2021
N.B. This event has passed.

Reflecting on Van Gogh’s Self-Portraits

Today, Vincent Van Gogh’s paintings achieve fantastic sums at auctions, his style is unmistakable, and his popular recognition arguably the highest of any modern painter. Collectively, we feel that we ‘know’ this artist.  The Courtauld Gallery’s exhibition Van Gogh’s Self-Portraits (3 February – 8 May 2022), the first ever devoted to the artist’s self-portraits across his entire career, asks us to think again, drawing on new research about his social networks, and about the works themselves. Exhibition curator Dr Karen Serres will reflect on both entrenched myths and the new perspectives gained about Van Gogh as man and artist.

Speakers: Dr Karen Serres in conversation with Dr Anne Puetz

Saturday 12 March 2022
N.B. This event has passed.

Object/Subject: Modern Women in Impressionist, Post-Impressionist and Expressionist Art

Women feature prominently in a number of key works from The Courtauld’s modern collections, appearing as barmaids, nudes, dancers or fashionable sitters in portraits. Looking beyond our own collections, it is clear that in much avant-garde art – mostly painted by men – women abound as ‘subject-matter’; as objects to be looked at, to put it another way. This event foregrounds a number of striking women artists of the later nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, including Berthe Morisot, Gabriele Münter, Marianne Werefkin and Paula Modersohn Becker, and explores the connections between women (as subject-matter and as agents) and wider nineteenth-century concepts and connotations of modernity. We shall look closely at the ways nineteenth century attitudes to women and their experience reveal themselves in paint, and ask how these differ when the woman herself is the producer of the work. Progressing into the early twentieth century, we shall discuss the boundaries to be negotiated by female painters, considering the ways in which they bridged the gap between their desire to work in a man’s world, and society’s expectations of an appropriate feminine identity. For each of these artists, complex questions of creative agency are at stake.

Speakers: Dr Anne Puetz and Dr Niccola Shearman

Saturday 14 May 2022
N.B. This event has passed.

Henry Fuseli and his Drawings of the 'Modern Woman'

Exhibition curators Professor David Solkin and Dr Ketty Gottardo discuss the life and work of one of British Romantic art’s most unusual figures, the Swiss-born painter and draughtsman Henry Fuseli (1741-1825). We’ll try to make sense of Fuseli’s private and highly inventive drawings of the ‘modern woman’, by considering their relationship to previous and contemporary figure studies.

Speakers: Professor David Solkin and Dr Ketty Gottardo

Moderated by Dr Anne Puetz

Saturday 26 November 2022
N.B. This event has passed

The Morgan Stanley Exhibition: Peter Doig. New and Recent Works – In Context

Our Saturday Study event accompanies The Courtauld Gallery’s exhibition of new and recent paintings and prints by Peter Doig (10 Feb – 29 May 2023). One of the most renowned British contemporary figurative artists, Doig lived and worked in Trinidad since 2000 before re-establishing himself in London in 2021. Our lecturers will set Doig into the wider context of post WWII British figurative painting before exploring his working practices and the themes of his large-scale expressive landscapes and figure paintings of Canadian and Trinidadian subjects, and of the recent experience of cultural relocation.

With exhibition curator Dr Barnaby Wright, independent curator and art historian Catherine Lampert and Dr Catherine Howe, Research Officer at Zaha Hadid Foundation. Moderator: Dr Anne Puetz (The Courtauld)

Saturday 25 March 2023. N.B. This event has passed

Drawing on Arabian Nights – Orientalism in Context

Saturday 29 April 2023

This Saturday Study event will provide an opportunity to delve deeper into the ideas raised in The Courtauld Gallery exhibition Drawing on Arabian Nights (22 February – 3 June 2023). The first of three talks will introduce the exhibition and the works: a selection of Orientalist works on paper from The Courtauld’s collection, and explore the curatorial decision to present them in the context of the folk tales Arabian Nights. The second talk will look more broadly at the history and complexity of Orientalist paintings, and examine the multiple interpretations they invite. Our final talk will introduce the reception and production of Orientalist visual and written material in the region of Turkey and the Levant in the nineteenth and twentieth century.

Speakers: Dr Emily Christensen and Dr Ambra D’Antone. Moderator: Dr Anne Puetz