Intermediate Art History and Theory Short Courses

Battlegrounds: Eighteenth-century British Art and its Interpretation

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The Courtauld Institute of Art, Vernon Square, Penton Rise, King’s Cross, London

Mon 13 Sep, 2021-Wed 15 Sep, 2021

This course plunges into what has become one of the most fought-over fields of art history: the interpretation of eighteenth-century British art. The sudden eruption of radical new approaches in the 1980s brought a new generation of scholars into view who challenged the status of established voices. At stake, was the idea that art was the agent of social and political histories and could give powerful expression to ideological beliefs. The trail-blazers sent shock waves through the establishment, stimulating strident responses from art historians too. Feminists claimed that the marxists were shutting the door on women while scholars across the Atlantic attacked parochialism. With accusations of ‘spectacular act[s] of erasure’ their aim was to put Empire at the centre of radical new interpretations. Structured around the ‘Politics of Class’, ‘The Global Turn’ and ‘The Digital Eighteenth Century’ this course will introduce you to some of major questions of art-historical analysis and take you to the heart of how art historians work: as sleuths and detectives armed with magnifying glasses, as radicals bearing firebrands, as scholars raiding other disciplines, as generals and foot-soldiers thriving on conflict, pushing out boundaries, usurping territories, contesting methodologies and fighting over legacies.  Morning lectures will be followed by afternoon visits to the British Museum’s printroom, to Tate Britain and the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich


Dr Kate Grandjouan received her PhD in eighteenth-century art from The Courtauld in 2010 with a thesis supervised by Professor David Solkin. As Associate Lecturer at the Courtauld she has lectured widely on eighteenth-century British art, at undergraduate and post-graduate levels (including with T.J. Clark) and for Public Programmes. Her post-doctoral research has been supported by fellowships from the Paul Mellon Centre in London and the Lewis Walpole Library (Yale University) in Connecticut. Kate’s research interests focus on print-making, national identity and cosmopolitan networks, and her articles and reviews have been published in scholarly journals. Two forthcoming articles relate to her book which is provisionally entitled ‘Hogarth’s French’. For more information see