Staff profile: Greg Sullivan

Greg Sullivan, Curator, British Art 1750–1830

Work at Tate

Greg Sullivan is responsible for Tate’s collection of British Art from 1750–1830, focusing on artists born before 1770. He curates displays and exhibitions featuring eighteenth- and nineteenth-century art and convenes the Tate Research Centre: British Romantic Art, which organises scholarly events in partnership with other institutions. He is the curator for the exhibitions Sculpture Victorious and Fighting History (both 2015). Greg Sullivan has worked on displays on Joseph Wright of Derby, William Hazlitt, Joshua Reynolds, J.M.W. Turner and family portraiture, and helped to select sculpture for the BP Walk through British Art at Tate Britain. He wrote an essay for the catalogue for Art under Attack: Histories of British Iconoclasm (2013), contributed to Tate Britain Companion: A Guide to British Art (2013) and is engaged in the re-cataloguing of the 1750–1830 collections. Greg Sullivan previously worked in the Research department of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Western Art department of the Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford.

Joined Tate 2012.

Professional expertise

Greg Sullivan is a sitting member of a number of advisory committees on art, including the Cathedrals Inventories Advisory Committee of the Church of England and the Steering Committee for the Public Catalogue Foundation’s project to digitise public sculpture across the UK. He formerly sat on the advisory committee for the website ‘Art World in Britain 1660–1735’, and for 14 years on the Sculpture and Furnishings Committee of the Church Buildings Council.

Research interests

Greg Sullivan’s academic interests have focused on historiography, history painting and British sculpture. His PhD, ‘Historiography and Visual Culture in Britain 1660–1783’, was completed at the University of Leeds in 1998 and he has since published widely in academic and museum contexts, most notably co-authoring the Biographical Dictionary of Sculptors in Britain 1660–1851, for which he is now Online Editor. Most recently he has written on Sir Francis Chantrey’s workshop practice and the place of the sculptor in early nineteenth-century discourse on history, art history and natural history. He is currently co-supervising a PhD on the Chantrey Bequest. Current interests include Anglo-Irish sculpture, the crossover between art and geology in the Romantic period and the tradition of history painting in Britain since the early eighteenth century.

Selected publications

  • ‘Chantrey, Cunningham and the British School of Sculpture’, in Sarah Burnage and Jason Edwards (eds.), The British School of Sculpture, London 2017 (forthcoming).
  • ‘The “Strange and Unaccountable” John Van Nost: The Making of a Sculptural Career in Eighteenth-Century Ireland’, in Jane Fenlon, Ruth Kenny, Caroline Pegum, Brendan Rooney (eds), Irish Fine Art in the Early Modern Period, New Perspectives on Artistic Practice, Dublin 2016, pp.118–55
  • ‘A Sculptural Gift and the History of the Earth: Sir Francis Chantrey, William Buckland, and the Geological Milieu’, Journal of the History of Collections, 2016. doi: 10.1093/jhc/fhv046
  • Fighting History: 250 Years of British History Painting, with contributions from Dexter Dalwood and Mark Salber Phillips, Tate Britain, London, 2015
  • Sir Francis Chantrey and the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford 2015, 63pp.
  • ‘Making and Breaking Public Sculpture 1688–1929’, in Tabitha Barber and Stacy Boldrick (eds.), Art Under Attack: Histories of British Iconoclasm, exhibition catalogue, Tate Britain, London 2013, pp.92–103.
  • ‘Chantrey: History and Geology’, in Mark Salber Phillips, Barbara Caine and Julia Alderney Thomas (eds.), Rethinking Historical Distance, London 2013, pp.139–57.
  • ‘Chantrey and the Original Models’, in Eckart Marchand and Rune Frederiksen (eds.), Plaster Casts: Making, Collecting and Displaying from Classical Antiquity to the Present, Berlin 2010, pp.289–306.
  • With Ingrid Roscoe and Emma Hardy, A Biographical Dictionary of Sculptors in Britain 1660–1851, New Haven 2009, 1550pp.
  • ‘Les Grands Hommes, le Pantheon Domestique et la Carriere du sculpteur dans l’Angleterre du XVIIIc Siecle’, in Thomas Gaehtgens and Gregor Wedekind (eds.), Le Cultes de les Grand Hommes, Paris 2009, pp.37–61.
  • ‘The Changing Relationship between Architects and Sculptors in Eighteenth-Century Britain’, in Susan Weber Soros (ed.), James ‘Athenian’ Stuart, 1713–1788: The Rediscovery of Antiquity, New Haven 2006, pp.385–412.
  • ‘Brass Sculpture and the Ideology of Bronze in Britain 1660–1851’, Sculpture Journal, no.14, October 2005, pp.30–40.
  • ‘Rapin, Hume and the Identity of the Historian in Eighteenth-Century England’, History of European Ideas, no.28, 2002, pp.145–62.

Selected exhibitions and displays

Last updated November 2016.