Showcasing Art History

Between Power and Conflict: Case studies of art in times of war and revolution from 1868 to today [On campus]

26 April- 24 May 2022

i Master Sergeant Harold Maus of Scranton, PA is pictured with the Durer engraving found among other art treasures at Merker. 5/13/45. RG111-SC-374661 Image: The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

Showcasing Art History

Season 2021-22

As the programme name implies, the series aims to share the latest art-historical thinking, and The Courtauld’s excellence in teaching and research, with the wider public.  The lectures are open to everyone over the age of 18, aim for a lively delivery and are given by members of the faculty, by associates and alumni of The Courtauld, and by other eminent scholars.

Summer term 2022

Between Power and Conflict: Case studies of art in times of war and revolution from 1868 to today

26 April – 24 May 2022

In recent months, museums and galleries around the world have been forced to respond to the increasingly urgent call to return the famous Benin bronzes to Nigeria, from where they had been taken, as part of some 10,000 royal and sacred objects, during a British punitive expedition in 1897.

Our intensive summer term of lectures begins with an exploration of the looting of Benin City and the earlier British Abyssinian Expedition of 1868, as prime examples of the pillaging of cultural treasures that was an integral and instrumental part of Western colonial expansion in the nineteenth century.

Over the following weeks, we shall look at the wider history of what happened to ancient and modern works of art in political, legal, curatorial and institutional terms, at key moments of war and revolution in the long twentieth century.  Our lecturers will focus on selected instances of looting and restitution, suppression, destruction and protection of cultural heritage, in their various historical and ideological contexts.   Case studies include the dispersal and restitution of works of art during and after the Russian Revolution; the Europe-wide looting of art works during the Nazi era and the ongoing fight for restitution that ensued; the traumatic impact on the arts of the Iranian Revolution in 1979 and the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s, and of the invasion of Iraq by a US-led coalition in 2003.

Our panel of specialist speakers include: Alexandra Watson Jones (The University of St Andrews); Dr Natalia Murray (The Courtauld); MaryKate Cleary (The University of Edinburgh); Professor Sussan Babaie (The Courtauld); Alice Farren-Bradley (Cranfield University).

Moderator: Dr Anne Puetz (The Courtauld)

26 Apr - 15 Jun 2024

Tuesdays, 19:00 - c.20:30

£95 (discounts apply if you book more than 1 term)

Vernon Square 

This event is delivered both on campus and online; for the online delivery version of this course please see the bottom of this page.

This lecture series includes: ​lectures at our Vernon Square campus, followed by discussion and drinks, pre-course and further reading, and handout materials on our Virtual Learning Environment.

There is a single online booking form for all terms and this form includes discounted rates for booking multiple terms.

Important notice: We are aware of an ongoing issue for Gmail account users. If you are using a Gmail address you may find that emails from The Courtauld are not always recognised and may go to your spam folder. You may therefore need to check and release emails; and enable The Courtauld in your filter settings/mark emails from The Courtauld as genuine and not spam.

The Vernon Square Campus

The Courtauld
Vernon Square
Penton Rise
London WC1X 9EW

Public Transport

Tube stations: King’s Cross and Euston.
Train stations: King’s Cross, St Pancras and Euston.


We offer disabled parking at our Vernon Square campus. Please email in the first instance.

Further terms in the programme